Gail Simone continues her reinvention of Red Sonja #9, presenting a woman who is unapologetically, deliberately barbaric but who also has her soft spots. It’s a highly readable issue with a fine narrative balance.
Red Sonja #9 moves back and forth between action, humor, and moments of reflection. Among other things, Red Sonja battles several guards, complains about “rusty saddle rash” from her metal bikini, and takes the time to chat with the courtesan about the different paths life takes as both wonder about the life that might have been. There are mistakes made and remedied, and Red Sonja continues her strange quest to fulfill a dying emperor’s wish. Oh, and apparently she’s not dragging everyone along on quite every aspect of the mission; she opts to leave the cook and the beastmaster behind for her visit to the “Palace of Fleshly Desires,” which is probably just as well under the circumstances. The one small complaint I have is that the emperor’s threat toward the slaves seems to have changed, though the promise remains the same and both thread and promise are enough to motivate the swordswoman, in either case.
Artist Walter Geovani and colorist Adriano Lucas continue their fine work on this volume. Sonja is expressive in her desires, angers, and irritations (All three creators are to be commended for making a character who can be just plain old cranky). The colors are clear and the contrasts between rainy night, palace interior, and quiet streamside are well done.
While this is the third issue in volume two, there is enough summary of past events and this stands alone well enough to make it accessible to a newcomer. If you’ve ever been curious about the She-Devil with a sword, this issue is a good place to start.
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Walter Geovani
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Simon Bowland
Covers: Stephanie Hans, Jenny Frison