RED SONJA: THE FORGIVING MONSTERS
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Walter Geovani
Color Artist: Adriano Lucas, Alex Guimarães, Marco Lesko & Vinicius Andrade
Letters: Simon Bowland
Hard to believe it’s been almost one year since I picked up my first read on the She-Devil with a sword and watched as she hacked, slashed, and lived it up across the lands. It’s pretty fitting to find myself returning to Gail Simone’s fantastic run to complete the journey she put Sonja on. Pick up your swords and save your apologies for someone who cares, we are looking at Red Sonja: The Forgiving Monsters. Spoilers Ahead.
Simone’s final issues of Red Sonja brings the Hyrkanian under the employment of a small village who seek to have a local wizard killed off. Though the deed is done, Sonja finds herself cursed to be unforgiving, going into a berserk rage on anyone who dares to apologize to her. I sure would hate to be any remaining members from a group of bandits who killed Sonja’s family when she was a girl at this moment… To make matters worse for Sonja, she is being hunted down by another wizard who doesn’t have enough magic in him to forgive Sonja for killing his brother.
The curse of being unable to forgive was a great way to see the core of Sonja’s character shine. Not only was she aware of the harm she was causing to those who may apologize to her, but she was also coming face to face with a man whose actions had ended up making Sonja the character she is in a negative way, shaping her into the killer she perceives herself to be. As with the villagers she saved (and beat up), I have to apologize as that is not who Sonja is if anything can be learned from journeying through Simone’s run.
The Forgiving Monsters is a service to all of Sonja’s achievements in the volume of issues Simone wrote. When Sonja finds herself in swords embrace with Death, a welcome sight of all those she has helped in the past arrives in mass to be there for their friend and hero. From former friends turned enemy then back to friend, traveling companions, lovers, and other common folk, the panels featured of these cameos is a trip down memory lane of the great deeds Red Sonja has done for others and then some. The art for this one definitely stood out among the rest. Geovani maintained the stellar art on following the Hyrkanian with some of my favorite expressions in all of comics along with a great group of colorists who created the perfect atmosphere of colors from dark stormy keeps, to well-lit taverns. Not to mention this might have had the goriest, grossest, and most metal panels that have come from this series.
While all were able to follow Sonja to the end, let’s not forget two of Sonja’s earliest travel companions since the beginning; Gail Simone and Walter Geovani. Picking up characters like Conan and Red Sonja was honestly pretty far on my radar when I first began collecting comics. I had reservations picking up a character that came across as exploitation to the male gaze whenever I would see an issue on the shelf. Seeing Simone’s name was a great choice to check it out and I was not disappointed. Geovani’s great action drawn sequences and Simone’s fantastic wit brought Sonja into a spotlight that focused more on empowerment and left me enjoying her journeys as I follow her in her newest ones. If there’s ever a curse that should fall on you, curse yourself to check out Gail Simone’s and Walter Geovani’s Red Sonja.