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. 

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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.

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Fantastic Female Friday- Camille Montes (Quantum of Solace)

I know a ton of blogs do this sort of thing. Jack Flacco has “Women who Wow Wednesday” Kiss My WonderWoman has “Strong Female Character Friday” but I decided I wanted in on the action, a weekly post to celebrate overlooked or out of genre characters that I wouldn’t usually blog about.

For our first episode: Quantum of Solace Bond Girl Camille Montes 

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Her path crosses with that of 007 while he is trying to get revenge on those responsible for the death of Vesper Lynd and she’s on a personal mission to avenge her family. For his part he’s blood thirsty and out of control, he kills someone sent to kill Camille and almost catches a bullet from her gun in return. Camille had been shacking up with Dominic Greene to get closer to her target former head of the Bolivian army, General Medrano. Greene finds her out and serves her up to him. But she’s got a secret weapon. This is unbeknownst to Bond who rides in on his high horse to save her and she gets mad and fights him, he over powers her and “saves” her. He even “saves” her again later (at a party where Dominic threatens to throw her off a balcony after she drunkenly swaggers over to investors and tells them in no uncertain terms that Dominic is a con artist) and Bond earns a big eyeroll as a thank you. She makes it clear he’s a pain in the ass.

Later, after they crash land in the desert, falling into a sinkhole (surviving because she grabbed the parachute, mind you) she spills her guts about why she was on the boat with Medrano. Says she had been waiting 20 years for that shot. He apologizes. She doesn’t accept. But when they get back to the hotel and M has Bond captured for disobeying orders she double backs to extract him. And together, sans resources they go after Dominic Greene, Quantum, et al.

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After take 2 with her target (who was ready to victimize another woman) in which she fights with all she’s got to take him out, biting kicking and clawing her way to victory. Bond does eventually get to be her hero, blasting a hole in the wall and saving her from a burning room.

She asks him if she’ll be different. If she’ll sleep better. He tells her the truth, probably not. She’s sweet to him, knowing he’s afflicted with the same thirst for vengeance. He kisses her… she’s not that into it and he leaves her all dirty and badass back in town. She doesn’t need him to tell her it’ll be alright, Hell, she doesn’t really even need it to be alright. She just moves on.

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No sleeping together, no shower scene, but to keep it 007 they had to throw in Agent Strawberry Fields to get sexed up and fridged because Camille was too damn unstoppable. Camille and Bond save each other and then she leaves to figure out what to do with a life that’s her own, not fueled by rage.

For the role actress Olga Kurylenko did her own stunts in the Bond film to boast the most violent incidents (250) and was pumped not to be playing a love interest.

Now, this is about a character, not the entire movie or the opinions of casting directors, actors or producers. Which would be irresponsible for me not to elaborate: are flat out terrible. The actress who plays Camille is Ukrainian, apparently they had intended to cast a South American actress but we’re blown away by her performance and noted her confidence as a deciding factor- of this point there is no argument she’s disarmingly assured. However her decision to “tan for two days to look more Bolivian” was encouraged by producers, she also worked with a dialect coach who left her sounding like she had a mouth full of marbles. Instead of “brown-facing,” the nationality of the character could have been left vague, or not since there are white people in South America -it was settled by white Europeans who spread the Spanish language.Or they could have found another actress who actually suited their desires instead of encouraging Kurylenko to alter her look and play on stereotypes in a vain attempt and fitting the character’s ethnicity. Historically, this happens A LOT and everyone should know better and stop being so damn naive and ignorant

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