Runnemede, NJ – DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT announced that as Red Sonja’s journeys reach into a landmark issue #25, writer Brian Reed will be joining Michael Avon Oeming as co-writer of Dynamite’s ongoing Red Sonja series with super-star cover artists Ariel Ollivetti and Art Adams joining Mel (Spider-Man/Red Sonja) Rubi and Paul (Red Sonja: Vacant Shell) Renaud. Brian Reed, who is currently writing Ms. Marvel and the New Avengers: Illuminati mini-series for Marvel, will begin co-scripting the adventures of Dynamite’s She-Devil with a Sword beginning with issue #25, which is scheduled for a July release and will feature Red Sonja’s return to a land ruled by Kulan Gath.
After being defeated by Kulan Gath, Red Sonja and her companions found themselves battling to survive in a land of strange and savage creatures on the other side of the world. The journey home for the survivors, as well as some unexpected allies, is a long and perilous trip filled with pirates, monsters and danger on the high seas. In July, Red Sonja will arrive back in Hyboria, where she will witness a land ravaged by evil dark gods and once again face the vile power of Kulan Gath! But don’t expect the usual showdown! Starting with issue #25, series writer Michael Avon Oeming is joined by writer Brian Reed to bring fans a whole new savage tale to the land of Hyboria and the adventures of Red Sonja!
As a writer, Brian Reed has gained quick success and popularity through his renowned work for Marvel, beginning with Spider-Man Unlimited (Vol 3, Issue 11) and the acclaimed Spider-Woman: Origin mini-series, which he co-wrote with Brian Michael Bendis. Currently Reed is in his second year writing Ms. Marvel, of which issues #13 and #14 of have sold out at Diamond, as well as writing the New Avengers: Illuminati mini-series. Before lending his talents full time to comic book writing, Brian Reed worked as video game designer. His credits include cinematics writer for Mercenaries 2: World on Fire (Pandemic Studios) and lead designer and co-writer with Brian Michael Bendis Ultimate Spider-Man (Activision).
Starting in July with issue #25, Brian Reed will begin co-writing Dynamite’s ongoing Red Sonja series with regular series writer Michael Avon Oeming. Michael Avon Oeming has been the regular writer and co-writer of Red Sonja since the introductory issue #0 (2005) and opening story arc, which featured collaboration between Oeming and Mike (X-Men) Carey. Both Reed and Oeming are known for their storytelling collaborations with writer Brian Michael Bendis; Oeming with the Eisner winning series Powers and Reed with Spider-Woman: Origins.
In a recent interview with Newsarama, Brian Reed described his up coming collaboration and introduction to Red Sonja, “Sonja is a very strong woman, but there’s vulnerability under that hard warrior shell. She had a hard life as a child, and that has never really let up into adulthood. She was very much forged like a sword – subjected to various harsh and terrible events until she hardened into a proper weapon.
“What I love with what Mike has done so far is seeing those moments where her youth impacts on her present. He’s been doing a great job of telling a story from both ends, and really letting us see how Sonja became the woman she is today.
“Kulan Gath is the biggest, baddest bad guy on Red Sonja’s block. He’s the definitive evil sorcerer, so powerful he’s even captured the Goddess that Sonja follows. And by the time I come onboard with Mike for issue #25, Gath has a pretty firm grip on the world. So our whole arc is all about Sonja trying to get a foothold and start fighting back against Gath, who has become all but unstoppable.
Kulan Gath rules the world. Red Sonja and her tiny band of heroes are faced with a demon army, a planet full of people who worship Gath and sacrifice themselves in his name. And that’s really the bright and sunshiny part of the story – things just get darker and uglier from there.”
Dynamite stated, “At Dynamite we are always looking to give readers the best match up of concept and creator, and having Brian Reed add his storytelling talents to the pages of Red Sonja is a perfect team-up. Our regular series writer Michael Avon Oeming has been on the book since issue #0 and is no stranger to the logistics of co-writing, having co-written the first six issues (and #0) with Mike Carey. Brian Reed is bringing his ability to write strong female leads and fast paced ‘video game’ action to Hyboria, so fans should expect things to heat up in a whole new way for our She-Devil with a Sword. Additionally, Brian is jumping on as Sonja celebrates thirty-five years in comic books and reaches her landmark twenty-fifth issue, which is destined to rock all of the lands as Sonja begins her next confrontation with Kulan Gath!”
Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword from of majestic Hyrkania, was created by Robert E Howard and adapted by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith. She first appeared in Conan the Barbarian #23 (Marvel Comics, 1972). The character was loosely based on Red Sonya of Rogatino in Robert E. Howard’s short story “The Shadow of the Vulture” (The Magic Carpet, January 1934), which was rewritten by Roy Thomas as a Conan story for the Marvel comic.
The origin of Red Sonja, “The Day of the Sword,” first appeared in Kull and the Barbarians #3 by Roy Thomas, Doug Moench and Howard Chaykin, and was later redrawn by Dick Giordano and Terry Austin for The Savage Sword of Conan, issue 78.
Red Sonja lived with her family in a humble home in the Western Hyrkanian steppes. When she had just turned 17 years old, a group of cruel mercenaries killed her father Ivor, her mother and two younger brothers and burned their house and all their possessions. She survived but at the cost of her own virginity after she was brutally raped by the leader of the group, leaving her in shame. Answering her cry for revenge, the red goddess Scathach appeared to her, and instilled in her incredible skill in the handling of swords and other weapons on the condition that she would never lie with a man unless he defeated her in fair combat.
The character now appears monthly in her own series, as well as a series of mini-series and one-shots, all published by Dynamite Entertainment. The main Red Sonja series features a wide array of cover artists, as well as the regular creative team of writer Michael Avon Oeming and artist Mel Rubi (issues #0 through #18) followed Homs (issue #19 to present). In the current Dynamite comic book series, Sonja’s origins are portrayed in “flashbacks” within each issue beginning with issue #8. The goddess makes her first appearance in the new series in issue #12, which also marks the return of the deadly sorcerer Kulan Gath.
“The Return of Kulan Gath” (issues #12 through #18): Since the fall of Gathia and the defeat of the Celestial One, Sonja’s journey has been shadowed by the mysterious and savage Hunter, a faithful servant of Borat-Na Fori, the very same dark god that Sonja has sworn to destroy in response for the murder of her family and the brutality dealt to her by the dark god’s followers. Sonja’s encounter with The Hunter leaves her with the revelation that her pursuit has failed and Borat-Na Fori is destined to “become flesh”. Through the eight part series, “The Return of Kulan Gath”, Sonja and her companions, the heroically faithful Osin and the vagabond prince Suumaro, are commissioned by the goddess to travel to the land of the old gods where they will find their only hope of defeating the Borat-Na Fori. While Sonja embarks on her journey, the Borat-Na Fori is born through Afrea, the bewitched wife of Suumaro’s father, King Quillo. Immediately the Borat-Na Fori resurrects his demon generals and raises an army to spread his darkness over the land. Unbeknownst to Sonja and the Borat-Na Fori, though, the machinations of each have been orchestrated from behind dimensions to put in place the key for the return of Kulan Gath.
After a journey wrought with sacrifice and fierce battles, Sonja gains the alliance of the old god, Kaleval, and begins the final march against the Borat-Na Fori and his demon generals. In the midst of the raging battle, Kaleval is killed by the Borat-Na Fori and the ultimate sacrifice is made-the blood of a god has been spilled. Enraged, Sonja destroys the Borat-Na Fori in his moment of victory, thus releasing Kulan Gath. At last it is revealed that the Borat-Na Fori was nothing more than a vessel for Gath to gain entry back into the world. Sonja and her remaining companions manage to escape while The Hunter, the faithful servant of the Borat-Na Fori, watches and swears vengeance against Kulan Gath for the destruction of his master (a story continued in Dynamite’s new series, Savage Tales).
And thus begins the Age of Kulan Gath…
“Animals” (Issues #19 through #21): Having barely survived the battle against the forces of the Borat-Na Fori and the shocking return of Kulan Gath, Sonja and her companions, including Osin and Suumaro, find themselves transported to the other side of the world where the surroundings at first appear to be paradise but soon prove to be as dangerous as the land they left behind as their discovery of the new world is cut short by an attack of the Leijona, a race of winged humanoid lions. Osin, Suumara and a few others are captured while Sonja and the remainder of the group flee into a swamp where they encounter man-eating plants until saved by a race of aquatic humanoids. While Sonja and her companions learn the astonishing history of the strange land, Osin and his group are brought to trial in the city of the Leijona, where they encounter more human/animal hybrids and are accused of brutal crime of being men.
Sonja’s party undergoes the deadly trials of the jungle and begins a quest to rescue their friends. During the rescue attempt, Sonja, with the aid of another feline race, the El-Hazar brings the new prospect of understanding to the strange land. Thankful for her intervention and realizing the importance of Sonja’s mission to the world, the Leijona offer the choice of returning back to a world under the rule of Kulan Gath.
Meanwhile, a world away, Kulan Gath has captured Sonja’s goddess and his demon generals have begun ravaging the land, enslaving the people under the rule of Kulan Gath. The only resistance, it seems, to Gath’s bloodshed and tyranny is the pirate queen Valera. Unfortunately as Valera and her crew flee the wraith of Kulan Gath, she consults with the seer aboard her ship to reveal if her death will be at sea… what the pirate queen sees, though, is the image of Red Sonja.
“The Long Way Home” (Issues #20 through #24): Sonja and crew, joined by new companions and warriors from the mysterious land, head back to Hyboria to battle the growing power of and armies of Kulan Gath. But the voyage home is not an easy one as they encounter and an old god of the sea, undead pirates and clash with the Valera, the pirate queen.
Issue #25…. Due out in July!