Welcome back for another Comic Book Storytelling review. This time we will be looking at the new Red Sonja ongoing series written by Gail Simone. This is the first time Red Sonja has ever been written by a woman so this series was hyped quite a bit and each issue has shipped with multiple covers.
The series starts out pretty good. Red Sonja is called to repay a debt to someone who once saved her life and the fate of a kingdom is in the balance and she even has a confrontation with an old friend turned enemy. It is all standard adventure tale stuff and it works.
It starts to fall apart a bit for me at the end of the second issue because the big cliffhanger is that Red Sonja is going to die. The third issue is all about her wandering the wilderness near death and having origin story flashbacks. This falls flat for me because I know that Red Sonja is not going to die, she is a licensed character of course she is going to survive, so the threat of her impending demise is an empty one. However the origin flashback bits are kind of cool. We see that Red Sonja was not always a bad ass in a chain mail bikini, once she was just a kid with a family in regular village. Then the village is attacked and burned and mini-Sonja sees her family murdered by marauders. I am not sure what kind of established lore there is about Red Sonja’s origin so I don’t know if Gail Simone came up with this on her own or she is retelling an established story, either way I think it works for the character. We also get to see young Sonja carry out some violent and terrible revenge on the men who killed her family like some kind of Hyborian age Hit Girl.
I have read past Red Sonja comics on and off again over the years but I could never really get into them because there never seems to be a clear definition of who she is beyond a bad ass fighting chick in a metal bikini. The only consistent characteristic I have noticed is that she likes to drink ale. So I have to wonder, what is Red Sonja’s motivation beyond needing drinking money? Yes she goes on adventures and fights bad guys but does she have any kind of mission or goal? If she just likes fighting and collecting treasure that would be fine, but I have never read a story where that seemed to be what she was after unless someone had hired her for it. I hope Gail Simone has some answers and I will keep reading to find out.