All Hail Queen Sonja!

Dynamite Entertainment's "Red Sonja" is reaching the end of an era. Brian Reed and Walter Geovani's run on the book is coming to an end, as is the series itself. But as one chapter in Sonja's life comes to close, another begins. After "Red Sonja" wraps up with October's issue #49, Joshua Ortega and Mel Rubi are taking the reins with November's "Queen Sonja" #1. CBR News caught up with Reed and Ortega to get the details on Red Sonja's ascension.

As Brian Reed's run on "Red Sonja" draws to a close, Sonja and Lucan Martur's respective armies are in race against the clock to find the Blood Dynasty, an artifact of immense power. Reed described the Dynasty as "an all powerful artifact that will allow its bearer to rule the world." Or so the legend goes. The truth of the Blood Dynasty will be revealed in "Red Sonja" #49. The Goddess, it turns out, is "still alive and mad as hell that Sonja has forsaken her," and her story is resolved in Reed's final issue as well.

Joshua Ortega says that Sonja's ascension to the throne has been a few years in the making. "Dynamite, to their credit, has really made sure to launch 'Queen Sonja' carefully, not rush it, and make sure this new era of Sonja's story is done right," Ortega told CBR.

The writer had had a blast working on Dynamite's "Savage Tales" and "Red Sonja" #32, and those gigs set the stage for his upcoming run on "Queen Sonja." "I really enjoyed writing those stories, spoke with Joe Rybandt and Nick Barrucci quite a bit about Sonja and the possibilities with the character, and luckily, they enjoyed and respected my work enough to hand the reigns to the Sonja book," Ortega said.

Dynamite is doing everything in its power to make the changing of the creative guard a smooth transition. "The last issue of my run is plotted, but right now I'm talking with Dynamite about what they need the final few pages to be as set up for Josh's run at the book," Reed said.

Ortega is grateful that Dynamite kept him so informed about the end of Reed's story, but one of the aspects of "Queen Sonja" that the writer is most excited about is the new direction the character is taking. "Part of the 'Queen Sonja' concept is to give the character a fresh start, something new that people haven't seen before with Sonja," Ortega said. "In that sense, it's a new era, a place where people can jump on in and learn about Sonja, Hyrkania, and experience it in a different light."

But Ortega says it's a bit premature to go into detail about the details of Sonja's ascension to monarch of Hykrania, and the challenges that await her in that high office. "We want readers to experience the journey as they move through the issues and learn about the Rise of Sonja in 'real time,'" Ortega explained. "How she ascends the throne is a big part of the story, and we want to make sure to deliver a compelling, interesting, and action-packed story that is worthy of Sonja's ascension to a Queen."

The 48-page first issue of "Queen Sonja" has a number of special features, including an all-new Sonja short story, but on that, Ortega was also reluctant to go into detail. "I'm going to leave that as a surprise for now, but suffice to say, Nick and the Dynamite crew will make sure you get some nice surprises with that issue."

Mel Rubi is a "Red Sonja" vet himself, and Ortega is honored to be working with the artist on "Queen Sonja." "I admired his work on the first 'Sonja' stories, and thought he really nailed the look and feel of the character and the world," Ortega said. "His sense of visuals and style are very strong, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what he does with the book...the guy's got some serious talent!"

Reed, for his part, admitted that ending his run on "Red Sonja" has been bittersweet. "Any time I reach the end of work on a story, I'm sad in some way to see it go," he said. "But I've also done a heck of a lot with Sonja in a short period of time (ninja wars, giant sea monsters, the building of two separate armies), so I can't say I'm leaving with anything undone." If the right story comes along, Reed is definitely leaving the door open to return to the character in the future. "But for now this is Josh's show to run and I wish him the best of luck." 

"Red Sonja" #49 his stands this September, and look for "Queen Sonja" #1 in October from Dynamite Entertainment.

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