Red Sonja #11 (Comics Review)

Red Sonja’s recent resurgence as one of the most kickass and badass female characters in comics reached a milestone recently when the new comic celebrated its first year of publication. It is kind of awesome that it has already been a year that Gail Simone and Walter Geovani have been helming the new series and to such success too. Their current arc on the title has proven to be exceptionally good and though the recent Red Sonja #0 was a bit of a speed-bump (Noah Salonga was the artist rather than Walter), with this week’s new release the series is back on track and quite handsomely at that.

Red Sonja #11 is the penultimate issue of Gail and Walter’s second arc on the title. Sonja has traveled far and wide to accomplish her latest mission, and as it draws to a close, we see some of the writer and artist’s best work to date. Sonja in this issue is very introspective and thoughtful, with lots to offer through her internal monologue and her actions. In this issue she has to face up to one of her fears and she does so handsomely, in typical Gail Simone-written style that has become the norm for this series and I couldn’t be happier. It also helps that Walter and colourist Adriano Lucas are stunning in this issue!

In the new issue, Gail exposes Sonja to a fear that she hasn’t thought about much: religion and the people who profess that religion. Gail Simone includes a lot of introspection from Sonja on this point and that is one of the things that made this issue really fun, to be able to see a side of Sonja that I really haven’t seen before, whether in this series or in the previous series or in many of the one-shots that I’ve read. And in the end, that’s what defines Gail’s run on the title because she has done something different and unexpected with the character at pretty much every turn. She likes to experiment and thus far her experiments are paying off big time as far as I am concerned.

Before, Sonja picked up a cook, a courtesan, a beast-tamer and a swordsman. Now she has to bring in an astronomer/stargazer, but the rub is that the astrologer is held captive by a Church intent on forcing him to recant his heresies. So, Sonja pretty much has to face up to the “men who think only of gods” and “the stone palace in which they live”. The story ends up having some nice and simple commentary on the Catholic Church’s religious dogma over the centuries and its persecution of those who believed far more in science and nature than in faith and a belief system. And Sonja’s own place in the grand scheme of things here, well that’s something that you have to read to fully appreciate.

By this point in this arc, Gail’s approach to acquiring each artisan is very same-y, but the circumstances are always different and that’s what’s compelling for me. She uses a single approach in different ways and shows how new tales can be told with the same devices. That’s important right? I mean, that is how comics are told really, especially comics with as much history as Red Sonja does, among others.

The issue starts off with a very hilarious standoff between Sonja, her group of artisans and a bunch of bandits, and I loved that too. It served to nicely lead-in to the main story. Small moments like these are what Gail has included in each story so far, and I liked all of them.

Walter is the penciller here with series regular Adriano Lucas joined by Carlos Lopez and Alex Guimarães. Simon Bowland is still the letterer and the main cover here is by Jenny Frison. Once again, there really isn’t much to say about the art here except that it rocks. Walter and Co. are incredibly consistent and Red Sonja #11 is just another example of the fine work that they’ve been doing since the series was rebooted last year. With three colourists on the title this month, I expected there to be some differences in their work, but I couldn’t really tell where one began and the other left off, so that was good too. And the scenes with the astronomer Plaitius, when he explains what got him in the bind with the Church, that’s some really beautiful work that is.

Yep, another awesome issue from this amazing creative team. How can you expect otherwise, eh?

Rating: 9.5/10

More Red Sonja: #0, #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10; (Legends of Red Sonja) #1; Li’l Sonja #1; Berserker, Cub.

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Posted on August 18, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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