Red Sonja is a hard character to get right. Much like with Thor or Wonder Woman, writers can often get bogged down in the mythology and miss the sheer kick-assery and fun inherent to the character. Although I don’t think this first issue of the new series is great, Gail Simone gets the character better than most and there’s certainly enough here for me come back to see where things go from here.
The comic begins with the armies of King Dimath’s victory over Zamora and the freeing of two female gladiators kept in the dungeons, one of whom is quite distinguishable for her bright red hair. Months later Red Sonja is summoned back to Dimath whose lands are being hit by both plague and a bloodthirsty enemy ready to overwhelm his empire.
Although you don’t expect the comic to start off with Sonja as the victim, the set-up provides ample insensitive for the She-Devil with a Sword to fight to the death for an impossible cause. Walter Geovani has drawn the character before and his art fits the tone of Simone’s new tale.
This first issue spends much time setting up Sonja’s relationship to the king while also hinting on why Red Sonja isn’t someone you want to mess with (including a nice sequence where a drunk Sonja teaches some thieves a lesson). The action is a little light and some of the time period lingo seems a bit forced at times, but Simone sells me on her vision of the character (although I’m going to have to wait at least another month to find out if she’s sold me on this storyline). Worth a look.