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!

Legends of Red Sonja #1

Dynamite’s favorite Ginger, adventurer and swordslinger, She Devil with a Sword RED SONJA!

There are 3 parts of Red’s Legends contained in this issue, the first piece and framework, “Legends of Red Sonja” by Gail Simone who is currently writing the main Red Sonja series art by Jack Jadson (all female writers, no gender protocol for artists, as Gail Simone said, the men need a chance). The second, “Eyes of the Howling God,” written by Nancy A. Collins, Bram Stoker award winning horror author, who created a character, Sonja Blue, as an homage to Red. And the third, “La Sonja Rossa,” written by Devin Kalile Grayson with art by Carla Speed McNeil, Grayson has written loads of comics Batman, Catwoman and a 5 year stretch writing Nightwing.

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A band of assassins are hunting Red Sonja. Hard to believe, amirite? They are united only in their hatred of Sonja. Driven by their need for vengeance. The Learned Assassin, Eles, has been hunting her the longest.

He met her when she was a thief. Sonja was prying the ruby eyes out of “the Howling God” statue when she was caught by monks with moons on their foreheads, seems she was defacing their religious idol. They try to grab her, then their leader threatens her with a ‘unique’ punishment since she’s the first female out of many thieves to try to deface their god. He says she can be “the temple whore” or she can face him in combat.

What does she choose? “Do you need to ask?”

Their leader goes all “Howling God” himself, turning into a wolfman. She stabs him through the chest and beats him dead then she goes about her business thieving. Eles was there that day, blind in one eye from facing her. He trained and learned the dark arts to face her once more and settle the debt for her blinding and slaying his god.

“Red is Her Name. And crimson follows her like vultures to a corpse.”

One legend rolls into the next as night turns into day and the Grey Riders meet with Captain Vitale Boulos who claims that Sonja sunk with his last ship. Red wasn’t the only beauty aboard the ship. There was another woman. And that woman? She summons a Kraken. She found out she was going to be sacrificed to a god, so no one can really blame her. “They say it is a great honor to be so chosen, but she, you know, perhaps she felt unworthy.” 

Sonja fights the creature from the deep with everything from her sword to her teeth. The Captain says she went down honorably, died fighting. But the riders don’t buy it, they’re sure she made it out of the water.

So they search on, but we have to wait for the next issue for the Legends of Fiction to tell the Legends of Red Sonja.

It’s no secret the Red Sonja and Gail Simone are my faves. (and all female authors adding their own twist? How could I not L<3VE this series?) So far the tales have been epic and extraordinary. A Wolfman and a kraken in the first issue? Awesome. The different phases were woven together perfectly, the art, the violence? Amazing. Very tall tales, by using perspectives of different travellers and adventurers, it creates an atmosphere where the stories are larger than life, like the history of great legendary tales passed down through oral traditions. Clever. Next issue features YA fantasy writer Tamora Pierce and steampunk romance author Meljean Brooks. So it will be interesting to see what authors from outside the action/comics realm bring in to the story. Word should travel quickly about the Legends of Red Sonja.

Red Sonja #2

Red Sonja, pitted against her rival in an unwinnable battle, the only soldiers at her back are a bunch of farmers and Katniss Everdeens. 

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This one is even more stunning than the last. Red Sonja faces off against Dark Annisia, her sister from the pits, the only other to survive. They were set to battle to the death the day after they were rescued. Annisia said she wouldn’t fight Sonja, that she’d sooner be killed. 

So what lead to this? Annisia facing Sonja, accusing her of betrayal! Out for her blood!

MASSIVE SURVIVOR’S GUILT

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Dark Annisia wears crazy well, but the story gets even more out of hand as it’s revealed that Sonja has contracted the plague and is marked for death. But… what?! How can this be? But she’s set off to wander again.

This one is bad ass and deep. Annisia feels betrayed by Sonja since apparently she’s not walking around haunted by an army of the dead. Can’t wait for the next one!! (But now I have to)

Red Sonja #1

The story begins 3 years prior with King Dimath shouting victory. He goes to the dungeon of his vanquished enemy and finds 2 prisoners. The only two to live after being worked as slaves all day and set to battle each other till death for sport at night. 

“Let me see these fierce men.” 

“Yes, sire. Only about that…”

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Dimath sets them out with a horse and safe passage away. 

3 years later, Red Sonja is sleeping in the dirt. I read her in Lucy Lawless’s voice. But she’s sleeping on the ground, drooling, snoring. Drunk. 

Bandits come buy and she offers to let them take the food, even whatever gold she has if they need it, she adds “Try to touch my sword and you die. Try to touch me and you die fingerless.” (How epic is that?)

Anyway, the bandits try to step up… and out of no where jump 2 pretty young girls with bows and arrows (is this a Katniss Everdeen thing? That’s how I’m reading it). Young girls, bows and arrows, guts but no idea about combat or killing or WAR.

Dimath requests Red Sonja’s presence… at a party

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Then once back in her chainmail bikini, she gets down to business teaching the townsfolk to fight as the Zamorans prepare to invade. Apparently the Zamorans have a terrifying general, and no reinforcements will come to help the king face them because his people have been cursed by a plague. 

A definite GREAT first issue. Clever. Funny. Brutal. Can’t wait to see what happens. So I won’t, I have issue 2 right over here. Also, if anyone else thought the sisters were a joke about Katniss holla at me! I thought it was so funny, they were all “We’re your body guards!” And Sonja’s all, “Seriously?” It’s amazeballs.