Written by: Gail Simone
Art by: Walter Geovani
I will confess that I have always been a little put off by the character of Red Sonja, purely for superficial reasons. The chainmail bra & loincloth that is Red Sonja’s outfit of choice has just always seemed so impossibly ridiculous to me. Am I to believe that the fiercest warrior has no need to cover up her vital organs?
But I’m a big fan of Gail Simone, who has written so much for Sonja, and has such a clear love for the character, that I felt like I should finally pick up some of Red Sonja’s adventures. And I begrudgingly admit that I underestimated the Hyrkanian warrior. Red Sonja is a compelling character. She wouldn’t be misplaced in the band of adventurers of Image’s Rat Queens, with her foul mouth, heavy drinking and penchant for getting into fights (and winning). And although Sonja seems to be more of a loner, she happily teams up with Tarzan to get her own revenge and help him achieve his.
I am not super familiar with Tarzan’s backstory in the Dynamite universe, but the cross-over does a good job at explaining the character’s background and with some efficient exposition – it is obvious what the character’s motivations are. As we arrive in issue #3, we are fully up to speed with Tarzan’s history and although it is not yet super clear who the mysterious ‘Eson Duul’ villain is, we understand Tarzan’s need to get rid of the man who is threatening his family.
Red Sonja takes much of a backseat in this issue, with the Tarzans taking much of the spotlight. Don’t worry though, Gail Simone still serves up her signature selection of fierce and independent women who are more than capable of defending themselves and their loved ones.
Although the art in the Red Sonja /Tarzan crossover isn’t always super consistent, the character design by Walter Geovani is great. Eson Duul and his sidekicks look properly evil, and the design of the look of the protectors of Tarzan’s grandchild is powerful and beautifully done. As well as Red Sonja’s host of dresses and less traditional outfits worn in Victorian England and the jungles of Cameroon.
The writing in this balances between the fun and ridiculous (H.G. Wells makes an appearance!) to the more gritty and action packed scenes of fights in the jungle. However balancing two main characters is tricky, and so far Tarzan really seems to have taken the lead. I am hoping Red Sonja will be given more of a spotlight in future issues, as I am personally less interested in Tarzan as a character. With a character with this much cultural history, it is hard for him to be entirely three dimensional. Red Sonja seems more layered, and more suited to Simone’s writing. So hopefully she will take centre stage again in the rest of this crossover title.
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