Red Sonja #9 (Comics Review)
For the last two months, Red Sonja has been traveling all over the world to satisfy the whims of a mad, dying King. She is to bring him the finest artisans of various professions for his death-feast and in return he will set a thousand slaves free. The finest chef, the greatest beastmaster, the most beautiful courtesan, these and more he wants, so that when he passes on to the afterlife, he dies content. Gail Simone has made this a really fun arc to follow, one which has more of the trademark Red Sonja humour than the arc before, and Walter Geovani’s art has been as impressive too, and with good reason.
In the new issue, Red Sonja goes to find the finest courtesan in all the lands, Aneva who is also known as the Princess of Pillowing. But, she makes a slight miscalculation that, for the reader, serves as excellent entertainment, and then she is back in the thick of things. For when she is on a mission, “Red Sonja is slave to nothing, including her own loins.” Quite frankly, I loved this issue, and it is great to see that Gail is not afraid joke around with the character as much as she does here, and Walter’s artwork here is once again some of his finest work, so I can’t really complain about anything.
This issue begins when Sonja walks into the finest brothel in all the lands to look for Aneva. As someone who has been on the road for a long while and has been denied the pleasures of sex, she is overcome with desire as soon as her gaze lands on the various men and women who work Madam Figly’s brothel. It is quite an unusual scene and yet Gail seems right at home writing this, and her writing really pulls you into the moment as Sonja begins to lose herself into the promised taste of the male and female courtesans that Madam Figly parades before her. Great tragedy strikes however when Sonja admits that her gear was stolen on the road and that she has no money to pay for some time alone with a courtesan or two. So Sonja ends up looking for Aneva the hard way, one that eventually involves her bonding on a deep emotional level with this new character.
I absolutely loved Gail’s characterisation of both Sonja and Aneva here. The way that the friendship between the two of them is teased out, the way that they interact with each other, it feels really natural and even vibrant. There is a lot of story that unfolds here, as the two of them talk about their past, and even what they had hoped to become or wonder what they could have been like had their lives not turned out the way that they did. Gail’s writing here is emotional and deep, wonderfully building up the whole mood and atmosphere of the story.
One thing that I really enjoyed seeing here was that Sonja is not merely a great warrior, or that Aneva is not simply the world’s most renowned courtesan. They both have their strengths and their weaknesses, which inform who they are, and they both have a depth to their character that is not apparent at a single glance.
The twist at the end of the story is something that provides heard to the overall story of this issue and to Sonja’s quest as well. Plus, it adds to Sonja and Aneva’s characters. It isn’t quite how I imagined that this issue would end, but I loved it all the same, and if Gail continues writing this series in a similar manner, then I foresee a long run ahead! (/touchwood)
As always, we have Walter on the artwork with Adriano Lucas on the colours and Simon Bowland on the letters. By now, these three artists have gelled together really well on this series and Red Sonja #9 represents some of their best work. In particular, Walter’s character-work is really excellent when it comes to his characters’ expressions, and the best example is the confusion on Sonja’s face when she meets the beauty of Aneva, who is herself very amused at the entire situation. Seeing it all unfold via text is one thing, but Walter and Adriano add to that with their pencils and colours, making it all the better.
The story is rather simple at first, but it gains a new dimension about five pages in and from there it goes on to deliver a really excellent experience, proving that this creative team has lots of tricks up its sleeve, and I can’t wait to find out more.
Posted on May 11, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Adriano Lucas, All-Female Cast, Arena, Comics, Comics Review, Dynamite Entertainment, Fantasy, Female Heroes, Female Protagonists, Female Warriors, Gail Simone, Hyrkania, Jenny Frison, Red Sonja, Review Central, Robert E. Howard, She-Devil With A Sword, Simon Bowland, Sonja, Stephanie Hans, Swords and Sorcery, Walter Geovani, Warrior Women. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.