Every month I wait for a Red Sonja comic to show up on Comixology, hoping that each issue is as awesome as the last, or even better. Gail Simone and Walter Geovani have certainly not disappointed. The quality of the series has flipped-flopped just the slightest bit but it has definitely one of the best series that I’ve read to date, and the fun thing is that the series hit its one-year mark last month. It has been a hell of a ride, I can tell you that. And the current ongoing arc has delivered some of the best story and some of the best art to date, so each month is a time of anticipation for the latest Red Sonja to land in my cart.
Instead of a (regular) 11th issue, the fifth issue of the current arc that is, we got treated to a #0 issue last month. The odd timing of the zero issue aside, especially since it doesn’t have anything to do with the current arc, I think that this was a fun little side adventure for Sonja and her current creators, to lighten up the mood a little and present something much different than the current events. All fine by me. The story here is pretty decent and so is the art, so I am certainly not complaining. Seeing a new artist present her take on Red Sonja was great, so that’s a grand reason too.
Before going into the review proper, I just want to point this great cover by Gabriel Hardman. Gabriel is one of my favourite creators in comics, largely due to his work on Star Wars: Legacy II with Corinna Bechko and he turns out a rather stunning cover. It isn’t the best that I’ve seen in the series to date, but it easily ranks up with them. All the covers for this series have been great so far, and this is another pleasant addition, especially given that it shows Sonja in such a dramatic pose!
The premise of this zero issue is a fun side-adventure, unrelated to the current arc, where Sonja meets up with a brute of a man who is a bit slow in the head and who has been proclaiming to his village that she married him and that she then died under some mysterious circumstances. Goes without saying that the man has abused this piece of fiction for various needs of his and now comes along the She-Devil herself to put an end to his lies and his, well, slander among other things.
I’ll give Gail points for taking the premise as presented and running with it to provide a nice, feel-good and somewhat emotional story about a man’s crush on his hero, his idol, and his love. In the main series, Gail often provides similar “soft” moments, and this entire issue is basically this one big “soft” moment, and I kinda liked that. Sure, it isn’t as enjoyable a story as the current arc or whatever, but I look at it on its own and I find that it was pretty good in the end. The ending is certainly quite bittersweet in a way that Red Sonja usually isn’t and the key thing is that Gail here provides something very different from the norm. And that has value for me, most certainly.
Another thing is that sometimes the story can be a bit cliched in that some of the minor characters are basically cutouts, but then again, the focus is on Red Sonja and on Red Malak, so I guess that’s not such a big deal. The main attraction is basically the major, big attraction all the way!
For this zero issue we have Noah Salonga on the art with Elmer Santos on the colours and Simon Bowland on the letters. Noah and Elmder’s approach to the art is very, very different from Walter Geovani and Adriano Lucas’ in the main series and that kind of threw me off a bit, but once I got going with the story the art started to work with me. It is a bit too shiny and more digital-looking than I’d prefer and some of the panels can be not as good as the others, by a decent margin, but it isn’t all that bad really. I kind of liked it I suppose.
More side-issues like this are most welcome!