Red Sonja #5

Check out the Becky Cloonan variant cover ❤

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Guards under the command of “Red Annisia” are lounging over a campfire when they see an enemy approach, the decapitated heads of their fellow soldiers are thrown in front of them. It’s an ambush. It must be an army.

“Verdes. It’s not an Army. It’s the curse of the Hyrkanians. It’s the Devil! The Devil! The Red Sonja!”

Red Sonja is back from the brink of death, still smelling of the dirt of her own grave.

None the less, she accepts the men’s surrender and orders a meeting with Annisia. She’s still taking medicine sent from the new King (Dimath’s son, as Dimath has fallen) and travelling with her two young body guards. They take her to see his grave, she is outraged that he is not buried in a way that befits his status, as the only monarch she ever met worth a horse’s ass she demands that he deserved better. And maybe he did. But the girls explain that Annisia ordered them to burn his body with the horses and the sisters did the best they could.

Sonja remembers Dimath freeing her and Annisia, of him calling them daughters and warning them to not let the evil that was done to them become who they are. It’s good advice if you can take it.

Then they set off again to get the rest of the cure for Sonja. In an area near The Sundered Board, a tavern… where she will go… for purposes of rest. Not just for drinking, but mostly for drinking.

Nias: “Sadly, O Queen of all fermented beverages …the hated Dark Annisia shut down all taverns and public houses.” 

Annisia told the townspeople they should pray and contemplate their sins. As she does. Annisia, on a cliff, talks to the ghosts of those she’s killed. They are lonely. They need more dead to keep them company. Limbless bodies with swords through their skulls, men with arrows jutting from eye sockets haunt her. She gets news that Sonja has returned and orders that all the men, women and children of Patra be locked in a tower and burned alive. 

Ayla and Nias try to prove their worth, acting as generals, insisting they will take back Patra and the townspeople will be safe. 

Sonja and Annisia suit up properly! and go to face off in the arena where they were made. Annisia, with her massive frigging survivor’s guilt reminds us again how she got so damn evil, she felt abandoned, Sonja left her with the dead. And Sonja moved on, she was embraced, she became a hero. Sonja tells her it was her own choice to do the evil she has done. She’d hated spilling blood in the arena. Dark annisia is not the woman Sonja loved, the one she called sister.

But then: the two discover that they are not alone. 

They’ve played right into the hand of King Bazrat, the Zamoran who ordered them to kill, who ordered their deaths 3 years ago. 

With a proper enemy, will they be able to set things right? Will they team up? Will Bazrat’s death be the last that Annisia’s ghosts need? Will Annisia sacrifice herself for Sonja the way she planned to 3 years before?

Ahhhhh! So many questions.

Next: Finale!

Harley Quinn issue #0

Written not as an origin story but as a giant in-joke to the scandal, hoopla and over all bad PR that DC comics got from asking artists to “break into comics by drawing Harley Quinn naked in a bathtub committing suicide.” (If you missed it, you can read more about it here)

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While I can’t be sure of the tone and intention that was originally considered, the tone of issue zero turned out to be snarky, awesome and shameless.

I’ve had a kind of “art crush” on Amanda Conner since I read that she used to do Barbie comics (and disliked it because Barbie has exactly one facial expression) and then I saw this:

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And I’ve been in love ever since. She’s also been doing covers for the Movement and Red Sonja lately which are huge faves of mine.

Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti main wranglers and writers on this project present an all star line up of artists, and as promised, one newb.

Harleen is talking to the voices in her head in a dumpster day dreaming about what it would be like to have her very own book! 4th wall obliteration ensues as she starts thinking of “that cowboy guy and the chick who draws the big boobs.” 

The first artist up to show what they would do with Harley is Becky Cloonan, who (in 2012) was the first woman to draw the main title for Batman comics, which is great, but I’ve loved her art since the underappreciated “Pirates of Coney Island.” She draw Harley in a band, “the Quinn Reapers”. cute.

Among other faves: Bruce Timm (of Batman the animated series) having BFF Poison Ivy helping Harley with her lines, Adam Hughes- who is amazing but mostly does covers- draws Harley winning a beauty pageant- Miss Gotham Citee- over Ms. Ivy (the subsequent rendering of Harley looked a ton like my friend Katrina), Art Baltazar draws her joining the Lil’Teen Titans. And then: Contest winner Jeremy Roberts shows his stuff… by drawing Harley committing suicide by wrapping herself in chicken and hanging out with gators. However the 4th wall is broke and the character is self aware, “Wait what the hell is this?” she says, then strapped to a rocket she quips, “How about no? Hey, I dig the art, but get me off this thing now or else I’m gonna feed you a giant sledgehammer.”

The book ends in Connor’s art, a bomb goes off in Harley’s dumpster and she’s thrown onto the street. A car pulls up and she is handed a document that someone has left her a building in Brooklyn (which is pretty much my life’s dream).

So we’ll see what happens next. Better ideas than sexualized and glamorized suicide was shown. The artists utilized are pretty much a who’s who in comic book art. 17 artists, 2 writers. One rad chick. There’s lots to love about issue #0.

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If you’re not reading this: you are missing out. I’m telling you.

If you have read it… what was your fave page?