Red Sonja: Volume One: Queen of Plagues

Red Sonja: Volume One: Queen of Plagues
Gail Simone, Walter Geovani, 2014

Premise: Collects Red Sonja #1-6. Old debts come calling for the warrior woman Red Sonja when an urgent summons comes from a king and a city important to her past. Plague and war are barreling down on a peaceful people, can Sonja save the city from Dark Annisia?

This new series got a lot of love when it came out. And I see it. The writing is Gail at her best: snark and pacing finely tuned, grounded humor alongside epic storytelling. The art is beautiful.

And yet.

The damn chain-mail bikini.

I want to love this character. I want to be above the idea that this old design hampers her. I enjoy pinup art (sometimes). I love Power Girl.

And still I spent the first two issues cringing at the damn ugly, painful-looking thing. After which, Sonja gets some different costumes, first because she’s travelling in the snow, and later for a specific battle.

Other than that, I really did enjoy this book. I think that most of the supporting characters are well crafted. The art, as I said, is gorgeous; it’s brutal in keeping with the world, evocative of old fantasy illustration, while being sleek, modern and easy to follow.

My only other quibble came with the end of the plot. There’s a few too many character twists in a row, which felt to me like in some cases a waste of characters, and in others a fall-back to overused cliches that the story had previously sidestepped. It all kind of works, but it’s not completely satisfying.

I do want to read more of this series, and especially also the related anthology series Legends of Red Sonja, in which an assortment of popular female writers take on the character.

This introductory volume, I’ll give:

3 Stars - A Good Book


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