Devil: no more!
What They Say:
Placed in an un-winnable war against an implacable foe, Sonja is forced to do an inconceivable move that will cost her like no previous battle ever has! The thrilling re-imagining of the greatest female sword and sorcery hero ever created continues…do not miss this jaw-dropping issue!
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Walter Geovani
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Called to the aid of the only good man she ever knew, Sonja leads a plague-ridden group of villagers in a desperate attempt to save their city from a marauding horde of enemy soldiers and monsters from the sea. At the head of this army is Annisia, a warrior that fought with Sonja when they were held captive in Zamora. They were intended to fight each other in the gladiatorial ring, but were spared that fate when King Dimath rescued them. Now that long-awaited fight will come to pass.
Issue 2 is a strong follow up to the first. In just a few panels Simone manages to convey a great deal of backstory and characterization that adds multiple layers to this fight between Sonja and Annisia, and Geovani does a fantastic job of depicting the fighting. This is a fast-paced, fluid, kinetic issue that crackles with energy even when the action slows to allow for exposition and plot advancement.
Not surprisingly, the relationship between Sonja and Annisia is what truly sings here. Unlike Sonja, Annisia was broken by her time as a slave and she believes that she is literally haunted by the ghosts of all those she slew. She believes that Sonja is haunted as well, but refuses to acknowledge them, and she sees this lack of acknowledgement as a betrayal by Sonja, as a refusal to accept her crime of living. This revelation is a powerful moment made even moreso by the revelation that Annisia loves Sonja. It turns her from a fearsome foe to a sympathetic enemy that acts as Sonja’s foil.
Sonja does win, but not in the way we might expect. Her pyrrhic victory leaves her in a dark, desperate place, cast down further than I’ve ever seen the character and taking the story in a direction I hadn’t foreseen, which to me is a sign of a master storyteller.
Issue 2 picked right up where issue 1 left off and managed to be even more exciting and entertaining. The battle between Sonja and Annisia was powerful and full of pathos, and the story took a turn that I did not expect. If the series continues in this manner it will be one of the most engaging and fast-paced titles on the stands. Red Sonja is so full of life and energy it practically crackles, and I hope that Simone stays on this title for a long, long time. Highly recommended.