Sunday, October 13, 2013

Issue Review: Red Sonja 4

Dark Anissia patrols the outside of the quarantined land Patra, and when she discovers one of the citizens trying to escape, she executes him.  Then she bathes in his blood and takes on the name Red Anissia, to represent that she has taken the place of Red Sonja, the land's former protector.  Meanwhile, the two young girls who have appointed themselves Sonja's bodyguards, Ayla and Nias, tend to Sonja and give her an Elixir made by the king's son Timath, that will supposedly cure the plague ravishing Sonja's body.  Sonja is blind, so the girls cover her eyes with a cloth to prevent the sun from damaging them.  Then they carry her back toward Patra.   As the girls seek food, Toda the Tormentor and his minions find them and capture them. Sonja hears the commotion and even though she is blind, she manages to shoot them with her bow and arrow based on sound, and their stink.  Toda tries to strangle her but she cuts off his hands. Then she pulls off her blindfold, apparently able to see again, and shouts that she is going to defeat Annisia.

This is another top-notch Sonja story from Gail Simone and Walter Geovani.  Simone shows us that Anissia really has gone 'round the bend, as she continues to talk to spirits that only she can "see."  We also learn more about Sonja's background, and about how she was put into the arena with Anissia to fight against four men, and ended up killing three of them herself. And how she gave herself the name "Red Sonja."

One thing I am enjoying about this series is the two main supporting characters, the girls Ayla and Nias. I absolutely love these two, and I hope Gail keeps them around for the long term, perhaps as Sonja's permanent traveling companions.  The twin girls are pure of heart and extremely brave, yet also can be funny when the occasion is not so serious.  Even this early on we can see how their presence motivates Sonja to great and heroic deeds.  They make an excellent addition.

I am a little bit confused about one thing.  The land under Anissia's control is called "Patra" more than once in this issue, but it was called Corinthia in the earlier issues.  It's possible that Patra may be the country and Corinthia the city, or vice-versa.  But either way, Gail needs to help us out a little bit here. We're not all experts on Red Sonja geography.

The art by Geovani is once again very good in this issue. Layouts are interesting without being distracting, and the fantasy-style backgrounds look great on every page. He also does an excellent job with the non-human monsters like Toda. They look so repulsive that one can almost smell their stink wafting off of the page.

Overall, this is another strong story.  I sense that this first arc may be nearing an end either in issue 5 or 6, and I can't wait to see how Gail resolves this story and gets us ready for what is to come.

My score: 9/10

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