Red Sonja #8

Sonja is still on the quest to bring the legendary artisans together for the dying emperor’s final bash (for which he will set free 1,000 slaves as reward). Red Sonja has been travelling with the highbrow cook that she saved from the swamp. She’s in pursuit of the great entertainer the Beast Lord, who she had previously sworn to kill. She’s also facing some.. uh, “hungers” that the cook won’t indulge. Every moment of this is perfection. 

Image

 

This page (is probably too small to read) but the end when she says “I’m Red Sonja, I’m everyone’s type” LOVE IT

When they arrive at the festival to recruit the Beast Lord, he is in the middle of a barbaric show involving abused and hungry hunting dogs and a bear raised in captivity to fight for it’s master. It’s cruel and grotesque. The utilitarian Sonja makes no qualms about digesting animals but watching them suffer so enrages her. Mid performance, she draws back an arrow seemingly intending to kill Beast Lord, but instead she provides a quick death for the bear. This earns the cook and Sonja a trip to the dungeon. She tries to climb out (Gribaldi could have escaped this fate if he’d used his clout, but he does not wish to consort with an animal abuser- I know it’s a “vegan thing” but I would like to point out that last issue, the cook fed baby lizards to swamp people and incurred the wrath of large humanoid-lizards, so not exactly a poster child for causing animals grief… but I digress). Sonja tries to climb out but Beast Lord comes along to smack talk and stomp on her hand. Ouch.

They are visited by Rat, Beast Lord’s assistant -and the one that the animals really love. She says that she hates him and that she will set Sonja and the cook free. She meant half of that. They end up in the arena, about to be killed for sport. Sonja HAS been down that road. The cook blames Rat, but Sonja spares her. She didn’t really have a choice. Rat, in turn, triple crosses everyone and sets the animals out. They attack their abuser first, but they are hungry animals and it’s only a matter of time. Beast Lord dies. But Sonja opts to bring Rat to provide entertainment (and gets a playful lick on the cheek from a tiger). 2 of 5 collected! And on to the next!

My favorite aspect currently is Walter Geovani’s interpretation of Sonja, she has a regular sized waist, thick thighs a body befitting of a travelling sword slinger. She’s gorgeous but not girly.. and on this particular journey… she’s ditched the bikini in favor of a Xena-esque dress. The art is amazing and splendid, #7 took place in a grimy swamp, this one in a more decadent and exotic setting, lush colors and battle scenes that were busy but not disjointed.  

Frison’s cover is fantastic. Minimal but very very ominous.

Image

Legends of Red Sonja #3 + Red Sonja #7

Red Sonja double review special:

With Legends of Red Sonja #3, we jump right in to “The Palace of the Necromancer” which was written by Leah Moore. Writing comic books is in Leah Moore’s DNA, Alan Moore is her father, and she has written for the Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes comic book series; proving that she’s no stranger to writing strong lead characters. In this tale a traveler has joined up with the Grey Riders to hunt Sonja because long ago Sonja offered to destroy Zaul. Zaul is a necromancer caught in stasis, draining the life from nearby crops, who is guarding a vast treasure. The man breaks the spell and a hoarde of zombies rises. He blames it on Sonja, of course. Not on the fact that he’s a greedy hog who couldn’t resist the treasure. Nicola Scott’s Gertrelle’s Lament finds a witch women who scapegoats Sonja as well. The old woman was piecing together an old and powerful ritual, only to have the sacrifice made into Sonja’s supper. This story was my fave in the issue, the art by Doug Holgate was quirky and cartoony and fit well with the attitude of that particular ‘legend’. In “Gerd’s Story: What lies beneath” written by Rhianna Pratchett, art by Naniiebim, Sonja is in her alternate costume: full sleeve chainmail and red hotpants. This was long ago, when Sonja was new to being a warrior. Gerd made Sonja her chainmail bikini: diversion tactic. Anyway, Red Sonja infiltrates the Grey Riders while they are deciding whether or not to keep hunting her, and she kills the leader with an arrow through the eye she didn’t take.

Red Sonja #7, Gail Simone and Walter Geovani triumphantly return with a new story arc and new mission for Sonja. She’s sent to recruit to world’s 6 greatest artisans for a shindig for a dying ruler, Samala. The utilitarian Sonja doesn’t care for such festivities, but Samala says that if she is successful, he will set over 1000 slaves free. So she goes to a swamped area inhabited by cannibal foodies in search of the world’s greatest chef. They have him captive. Red Sonja gets followed by the bogmen who criticize her dinner of rabbit on a stick, which she kills one with, and through a series of events she gets captured and put on the menu. She meets the cook, Gribaldi, and finds that the cook has been deceiving the bogmen and feeding them infant reptiles and setting the captured free. All hell breaks loose when the giant gator people get wind of their cooked young. “There’s the problem with exotic cuisine, sometimes, it simply refuses to be eaten.” Sonja keeps herself and the cook on the top of the food chain!

(all new) Marvel Now! Point One

This $6 book features previews/prologues for some debuting/rebooting series that start up in the next month or so. These include Ms. Marvel, Silver Surfer, and Black Widow. The framework for these really random stories follows Loki in the search across space and time for 5 keys. My favorite of which was the first, he wins the key from a face eater in a poker game and escapes by giving the toothy aliens paper cuts on their eyeballs and making a run for it.

Image

Silver Surfer gets a retro look courtesy of Michael Allred. Allred is well known for the indie comic “Madman” which I haven’t read but my boyfriend told me was kind of like Adventure Time but for grown ups. The art is very distinctive (Pete picked up on it from across the table and distracted by empanadas). Dan Scott crafted a tale for Norrin where he in travelling in a very Whovian way with companion Dawn Greenwood. She doesn’t know as much about him as she could…

I couldn’t work up any interest in the All-New Invaders story.

Black Widow gets real. Really real. And beautiful. Subdued colors, soft features, water colors; Phil Noto’s art in her tale, “Predator,” is simply gorgeous. Nathan Edmondson presents her as we’ve come to know her: cunning, mischievous, bold, sassy…  conflicted and deadly. Always a predator.

The first glimpse of Ms.Marvel really made this worthwhile to me. A shapeshifter trying to be everything to everyone, fighting trash monsters, working her way up to hero status. Hideout envy. Meanwhile she still has family obligations AND school… her family pressures her to be a straight A student, wants her to marry a nice man… she might be a shapeshifter but can she fit their expectations? G. Willow Wilson’s “Garden State of Mind” made me remember what it was like to be a Sophomore and have my sassy pants on. Adrian Alphona’s art the scene, the costume is on point. They keep it modest and authentic and I dig it.

The Avenger’s story “Short Term Fixes” has Hulk loose on the SHIELD helicarrier again. That’s always happening.

Ms.Marvel the “shape changing, mask-wearing, sixteen-year-old super Moozlim from Jersey City” and Loki being Loki were certainly the highlights. The Silver Surfer was good but I will probably never keep up with the series. 

This book is mainly for the completists (or the curious) preparing for the next wave of books. I would have saved my six dollars if I didn’t fall into both of these categories.

Red Sonja #5

Check out the Becky Cloonan variant cover ❤

Image

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!

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. 

Image

 

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

Image

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…”

Image

 

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

Image

 

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.