Comic Book Storytelling: Red Sonja #0

Today we are taking another look at Gail Simone’s Red Sonja, this time with the special #0 issue. So that is a thing that is happening again. I remember when #0 and #1/2 and what not special issues were big back in the 1990′s.

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It begins with some people apparently attending Red Sonja’s funeral.  Then along comes a guy called Red Malak claiming that Sonja was his wife.  Later he goes on to tell everyone about the great love affair he and Sonja had before her tragic death.  He speaks of her love for fine clothes and how she loved to pick wild flowers and the whole thing sounds very suspicious.  Of course the locals who have never met Red Sonja seem to buy the story.

Then Red Sonja herself arrives on the scene and everyone is surprised to see her alive and well.   It turns out she and Malak have met before.  While she was enjoying some drunken debauchery Malak came up to her and grabbed her breasts while trying to proposition her for sex, in return she smashed a mug of ale on his head and that was the end of their interaction.  Sonja does not seem to give a damn what Malak has been telling people about her.  She knows who she is and if people have been dumb enough to fall for Malak’s ridiculous stories that is their problem.  However Malak has piled up a considerable amount of debt in Sonja’s name and the locals try to get her to pay up for him.  It does not go well for the local moneylenders.  So this is going to be Red Sonja’s problem one way or another so she goes off to hunt down Red Malak.

When Red Sonja catches up to Malak he seems genuinely wounded that she did not fall in love with him when he drunkenly groped her boobs.  He gives her a sob story about how the fake love story was meant to get people to show Sonja more respect but also admits he did do it for himself in part.  Then the moneylenders show up again, this time with archers and Malak ends up getting shot up with arrows defending Sonja.  She beheads one of them and the rest flee from her pretty easily.  Red Sonja forgives Malak but refuses to indulge his fantasy even as he lays dying.  She does him the courtesy of giving him a proper burial even if she has little pity for him.

This was an entertaining Red Sonja story although I don’t know why it warranted a special #0 issue instead just being a regular issue of the ongoing series.   I guess that’s just Dynamite trying to be clever.

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