In Review: Red Sonja #5
The covers: Jenny Frison continues to contribute amazing work to this series. Her Main cover has Sonja wearing her patented chain mail outfit as she’s up in a tree looking at something afar. Another amazing example of visual excellence. The Variant cover is by Becky Cloonan has Sonja’s past behind her in blue and red, while in the present she’s fighting an unknown foe; she’s covered in many slashes and nicks, though her foe has fared worse from the gore on her sword and on the ground. Nice! The Subscription cover is by Stephanie Buscema turning in another superior piece of art with Sonja on horse, which is being attacked by vines spiraling out of the swamp water. I’m in love with Buscema’s work. Overall grades: Main A, Variant B, and Subscription A+
The story: This is the penultimate chapter in Gail Simone’s Red Sonja reboot and any reader could jump in with this issue and be completely up to speed. Four guards are around a fire keeping watch to prevent anyone from crossing into Patra which has been labeled a plague city to keep strangers out. Their meal is interrupted by four objects being thrown into their fire: the heads of the second watch. Sonja appears, rightfully frightening the men. By the time they have their weapons ready she is gone. You know it’s not going to go well for these servants of Annisia, and it doesn’t. Sonja gets closer to confronting her sister of the pit and along the way she makes a painful discovery and gives an informative flashback. Annisia appears briefly, showing her madness to be constant. This issue reveals a solution to Sonja’s poison but one antagonist interferes with this antidote, who is replaced by a bigger, older threat. This entire saga has certainly found its pacing and it’s running to a conclusion that I couldn’t predict. Excellent reading! Overall grade: A+
The art: Terrific work from Walter Geovani. Anyone who illustrates one of the She-Devil’s adventures must be able to draw realistic humans, fantasy settings, and supernatural creatures. Geovani is a real master of the human figure, male or female. The opening encounter shows he can manipulate his characters from any angle or in static (sitting) or fluid (action) poses. His scenery is stunning; Pages 8, 9, and 20 are gorgeous. I haven’t been a fan of his mer-men, and I’m still not keen on those that appear in the opening skirmish. However, the beings that haunt Annisia look great and it’s hard not to be repulsed by the pair on 16–nasty to the extreme! Sonja looks great throughout, and I’ll admit to giving an audible sad sigh at her comment at the end of Page 19, ending this terrific visual marking. I’m not liking the fleeting fish, but I’m loving the rest of this visual meal. Overall grade: A-
The colors: The lighting of the opening sequence was really well done by Adriano Lucas, with some really nice highlights from the flames. I wanted the forest in the daylight to me much more vivid, but Lucas made the setting pale to keep the focus on the foreground and the characters. The fluorescent green on 14 was great, but the rest of the book had muted colors making the action that follows somewhat lesser than the issue’s beginning. Overall grade: B+
The letters: I’m loving Sonja’s narration in this book from Simon Bowland, who also provides the dialogue, some spooky words on 14, and scene setting, but no sounds–BOO! I need sounds to accompany these visuals. Overall grade: B+
The final line: An enjoyable outing that I continue to look forward to each month. Overall grade: A-
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years. He’s since moved to a high school where he’s taught 9th grade and currently teaches 10th graders English. He reads everything as often as possible, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.