When an industry favorite like Gail Simone becomes available to write a legendary character like Sonja of Hyrkania, it’s not a bad idea to kick it off with a comic book like “Red Sonja” #1. By that, I mean a new series altogether as opposed to trying to re-direct a flagging series with banners proclaiming a “Brand New Start!” or “Great Jumping-On Point!” As a matter of fact, Dynamite has already declared that this title has brought “immense success” to the character.
For her part, Gail Simone writes a story that has historical significance to the character, but doesn’t mire itself wallowing around in origins and motivations. Quite simply, a character that paid a kindness to Sonja in times past has need of a favor. The warrior agrees and the first issue sets up the adventure to follow and fulfill the first arc. As Simone often does, new characters are grafted onto the fate of another, with Red Sonja inheriting groupies in this issue. That opens the door for Simone to add some humor to the otherwise grim and gritty sword-swinging tale. Her Sonja is confident and determined, quick with her blade and ferocious in battle, but steadfast in her morals. Readers aren’t treated to a full-on psychological profile, but of my exposure to Red Sonja, I find this interpretation to be the most intriguing.
Geovani’s art is good, even great at points, but there is a flash or polish missing in the finished product between Geovani and colorist Adriano Lucas. Characters float through scenery with both occupying page space and visually telling the tale, but nothing seems heavy or grounded. Perhaps some variance in shadow and shading would provide more depth and relativity between objects, maybe even having the world reflect those in and upon it. Geovani has a nice range of expressions and gesture for these characters, but again the connection between art and color needs more polish.
“Red Sonja” #1 is a nice start for a new adventure with Gail Simone joining the journey. It establishes the world succinctly, without getting too heavy. Simone has established some history to build around and puts all of the pieces on the table, ready to erupt in violent battle. There is a definite conflict ready to explode with roots in the past and impact for the future as the attacking hordes hold a secret connection to the redheaded warrior woman.