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Gail Simone (Batgirl, Birds of Prey) gives the iconic fantasy heroine a fresh new attitude! Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, intends to pay back a blood debt owed to the one man who has gained her respect... even if it means leading a doomed army to their certain deaths! Who is Dark Annisia, and how has this fearsome warrior accomplished what no god nor demon has bee Gail Simone (Batgirl, Birds of Prey) gives the iconic fantasy heroine a fresh new attitude! Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, intends to pay back a blood debt owed to the one man who has gained her respect... even if it means leading a doomed army to their certain deaths! Who is Dark Annisia, and how has this fearsome warrior accomplished what no god nor demon has been able to do: force Sonja to her knees in surrender? An epic tale of blood, lust, and vengeance, Queen of the Plagues takes Red Sonja from the depths of her own grave to the heights of battlefield glory. Collects issues 1 to 6. Featuring Gail Simone's Red Sonja #1 script!


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Gail Simone (Batgirl, Birds of Prey) gives the iconic fantasy heroine a fresh new attitude! Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, intends to pay back a blood debt owed to the one man who has gained her respect... even if it means leading a doomed army to their certain deaths! Who is Dark Annisia, and how has this fearsome warrior accomplished what no god nor demon has bee Gail Simone (Batgirl, Birds of Prey) gives the iconic fantasy heroine a fresh new attitude! Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, intends to pay back a blood debt owed to the one man who has gained her respect... even if it means leading a doomed army to their certain deaths! Who is Dark Annisia, and how has this fearsome warrior accomplished what no god nor demon has been able to do: force Sonja to her knees in surrender? An epic tale of blood, lust, and vengeance, Queen of the Plagues takes Red Sonja from the depths of her own grave to the heights of battlefield glory. Collects issues 1 to 6. Featuring Gail Simone's Red Sonja #1 script!

30 review for Red Sonja, Vol. 1: Queen of Plagues

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I thought this was fantastic! I have loved Red Sonja for years, ever since I watched her movie (and own) with Arnold as Conan! I even have her bloody Funko Pop. Anyhoo, I read this on kindle unlimited but I plan to add the physical copy to my collection when I can afford it. I loved the story and the art. I will leave some pics in no particular order. Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 I thought this was fantastic! I have loved Red Sonja for years, ever since I watched her movie (and own) with Arnold as Conan! I even have her bloody Funko Pop. Anyhoo, I read this on kindle unlimited but I plan to add the physical copy to my collection when I can afford it. I loved the story and the art. I will leave some pics in no particular order. Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jan Philipzig

    How to Wear a Chain-Mail Bikini in the Snow Best known for her chain-mail bikini, Red Sonja has not exactly become a feminist icon ever since Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith first adapted Robert E. Howard's Depression-era pulp character into comics back in 1973. Thankfully, though, the "She-Devil with a Sword" is exactly the kind of exploitation character comic-book writer Gail Simone loves to get her hands on. A few years ago, Simone transformed the Birds of Prey from mere eye candy into full How to Wear a Chain-Mail Bikini in the Snow Best known for her chain-mail bikini, Red Sonja has not exactly become a feminist icon ever since Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith first adapted Robert E. Howard's Depression-era pulp character into comics back in 1973. Thankfully, though, the "She-Devil with a Sword" is exactly the kind of exploitation character comic-book writer Gail Simone loves to get her hands on. A few years ago, Simone transformed the Birds of Prey from mere eye candy into full-fledged female characters, and now it is Red Sonja's turn. To be sure, the male gaze is still rewarded under Simone's direction, as even the bitter cold of winter cannot prevent our heroine from flaunting her famous bikini. After all, who would recognize her if she was dressed for the weather? Still, you get the impression that Simone's Red Sonja couldn't care less about the way she looks. Instead, she gets the job done (job description: killing bad guys) and drinks too much after "work." In short, Gail Simone pulls off the difficult balancing act between exploitation and empowerment. Her sense of humor keeps the title's exploitative tendencies in check, and there is a lot going on plot-wise - some of it surprisingly ambitious and dark - that is completely unrelated to our heroine's undoubtedly excellent cleavage. The result is almost certainly the best Red Sonja comic book to date, and should appeal to anybody with a weak spot for sword and sorcery. Looking at the feedback here at GR, it is striking how many positive responses there are from female readers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I'd never even heard of Red Sonja before picking this up. Evidently, she's been around for a while? Sorry, hardcore fan base! Anyway, it was easy enough for a newbie like me to follow the story, so that has to count for something. Right? But since I'm not a big fan of the barbarian stuff, I'm really not sure how this holds up to the other sword-wielding stuff out there. Or even if there is other stuff like this. I've never seen it, but then again, I've never looked for it. Anyhoo. The story is about I'd never even heard of Red Sonja before picking this up. Evidently, she's been around for a while? Sorry, hardcore fan base! Anyway, it was easy enough for a newbie like me to follow the story, so that has to count for something. Right? But since I'm not a big fan of the barbarian stuff, I'm really not sure how this holds up to the other sword-wielding stuff out there. Or even if there is other stuff like this. I've never seen it, but then again, I've never looked for it. Anyhoo. The story is about a bad-ass chick in a metal bikini. She saves a town (kingdom?), kills evil people, and has enough flashbacks for the uniformed reader to get the gist of her backstory. The girls will appreciate how tough she is, and the boys (*you know who you are) will appreciate the above-mentioned bikini. *It's not a hot nurse outfit, but...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    "Being Sonja means being called to darkness and pain . . . knowing that you have the power to alter and take the lives of many. A great many. And praying to the Gods that you always choose the right side." -- Red Sonja, in a rare moment of self-reflection I've mentioned repeatedly that Gail Simone's work on the Batgirl and Birds of Prey titles has made me a big fan of her storytelling talent. Strong, kick-ass, and intelligent female protagonists (she's also written for Wonder Woman) are her speci "Being Sonja means being called to darkness and pain . . . knowing that you have the power to alter and take the lives of many. A great many. And praying to the Gods that you always choose the right side." -- Red Sonja, in a rare moment of self-reflection I've mentioned repeatedly that Gail Simone's work on the Batgirl and Birds of Prey titles has made me a big fan of her storytelling talent. Strong, kick-ass, and intelligent female protagonists (she's also written for Wonder Woman) are her speciality. So even after being disappointed by volumes 1 and 2 of The Movement I was very curious to check out her rebooting of the saucy sword-and-sorcery heroine, best known as a contemporary of Conan the Barbarian during Marvel's run in the mid-70's. The character and the writer are such a great match! There's lots of bloodily crunchy action and solid drama. In the middle of it all is a main character who - while not invincible, because that would be boring - is unapologetically the roughest, toughest person in any room or battlefield. She's a fierce warrior who is shrewd, loves to tip back the spirits, and is good with a humorous one-liner just like a movie star in a Hollywood blockbuster. Red Sonja is also surrounded by a great cast of supporting characters, such as her valiant teenage 'bodyguards' Nias and Ayla. This type of sci-fi / fantasy tale is usually not on my reading list at all, but Queen of Plagues was one damn entertaining volume.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    A barbarian series I actually liked, a guess there is a first time for everything. Gail Simone actually provides a story, not just twenty pages of sword fighting and blood. Walter Geovanni's art was a pleasant surprise. Usually coming across a new artist from an indie publisher means the art will be suspect, but not is this case. Geovanni's art is a knockout punch to the chin. A barbarian series I actually liked, a guess there is a first time for everything. Gail Simone actually provides a story, not just twenty pages of sword fighting and blood. Walter Geovanni's art was a pleasant surprise. Usually coming across a new artist from an indie publisher means the art will be suspect, but not is this case. Geovanni's art is a knockout punch to the chin.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Sorry, I’m late to the party, and I guess I missed a lot of fun. I received this volume from a generous logmaðr from the North, and I’ll be forever grateful. This was my first encounter with Red Sonja, the red-headed heroine from times long gone, who also goes by the designation of She-devil with a sword; often clothed – just barely – in a chain-mail bikini (for her own protection, of course), swinging her bidenhänder and shooting her arrows at her enemies, of which there are many and whose r Sorry, I’m late to the party, and I guess I missed a lot of fun. I received this volume from a generous logmaðr from the North, and I’ll be forever grateful. This was my first encounter with Red Sonja, the red-headed heroine from times long gone, who also goes by the designation of She-devil with a sword; often clothed – just barely – in a chain-mail bikini (for her own protection, of course), swinging her bidenhänder and shooting her arrows at her enemies, of which there are many and whose response is usually a single in case the arrow cuts right thru the throat. Yeah, Red Sonja isn’t exactly inhibited by suaveness and etiquette. Her actions speak louder than words and her sword is usually quicker than the eyes (or into the eyes?) of her enemies. That’s not surprising either. In flashbacks you learn about her fate, and how she became this kind of avenging angel, which you better not piss off. While reading, especially the second part, I asked myself who this Sonja reminds me of and I came to the conclusion that it is a mixture of two characters from the Nibelungenlied: Krimhild, wife of the late Siegfried, who is driven by revenge for her husband’s murder; and Brunhild, powerful shieldmaiden and Amazon-like queen who ordered Siegfried’s murder. My suspicion was somehow confirmed when I saw this picture (1897) of Brunhild that could almost count as an early incarnation of Red Sonja: Apart from killing enemies there’s also an inner struggle to be found in Red Sonja, who, at least in this volume, has a deeper character than I would have first suspected. And humor is not missing either, even though it’s mostly quite dry and probably not even noticed by the heroine herself. All in all I was very satisfied with the strongest female redhead ever since Pippi Longstocking. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    While I’ve never heard of Red Sonja before, one look at the chainmail bikini and the sword tells you everything you need to know – she’s Conan the Barbarian without the Y chromosome! As for the story, there are nuances but it’s basically Red Sonja saves a kingdom from an invading army, ie. the standard fantasy hero storyline. Hats (or helmets) off to Gail Simone – I’d written her off as a comics creator just not for me but then I’d only been reading her DC stuff. Take her away from that schizoph While I’ve never heard of Red Sonja before, one look at the chainmail bikini and the sword tells you everything you need to know – she’s Conan the Barbarian without the Y chromosome! As for the story, there are nuances but it’s basically Red Sonja saves a kingdom from an invading army, ie. the standard fantasy hero storyline. Hats (or helmets) off to Gail Simone – I’d written her off as a comics creator just not for me but then I’d only been reading her DC stuff. Take her away from that schizophrenic editorial team and she shines because, totally unexpectedly, her Red Sonja won me over! Simone hits the ground running, throwing us the story – sans Sonja – immediately. There’s a major battle going on between King Dimath and the enemy Zamoran king. Dimath’s son is not a warrior but more science-inclined; these are all relevant points later in the story. This is what I really liked best about Simone’s storytelling in this book: no scenes are wasted/irrelevant, and everything we need to know, we see, rather than being told – a departure from the DC style of storytelling. We meet Sonja drunk and dozing next to a fire in the woods, bandits stealing up on this gorgeous, scantily clad woman all alone – not knowing she’s basically a superhero! It’s a fun scene that tells us 1) she drinks like a god and therefore cool as hell, and 2) she’s danger personified even when plastered. This established format – flashback then return to present, repeat - is how the book plays out, and it works really well. The flashbacks fill in the blanks without slowing down the main story, and add to the build-up making for a more satisfying payoff at the end. For instance, I expected that Sonja’s loyalty to King Dimath, her relationship with Dark Annisia, and even her own background would be things left untouched – they were probably dealt with in previous books or the core readership don’t care because they already know this stuff. But it all gets explained, even her origin story, fitting in nicely alongside the main story and making this an accessible, self-contained jumping on point for new readers like me. When King Dimath reaches out to Sonja for help, we’re wondering why she cares so much about him – cue flashback to show why. When we’re wondering the significance of Dark Annisia to Sonja, we’re shown via a flashback. When Sonja’s at her lowest ebb, seemingly at the end, we see her at the beginning when she first became Red Sonja. That’s exactly how flashbacks should be used - to emphasise plot points and their relevance to the character’s journey, while also giving them credible motivations. I love that most of the characters are complex, though my one main criticism of the comic would be the one-dimensionality of the villain. Sonja is a lone wolf but she makes exceptions, like fighting for Dimath, though she still refuses to bow to him like a subject. She also has a great classic arc that comes takes her down then up and completes neatly in a full circle by the end. Sonja and Annisia were once friends (and, it’s hinted, something more) though they’re mortal enemies now – but they’re also not, their fealties changing as the story progresses. It’s not a simple cut-and-dried goodie v baddie scenario and, while Annisia is the perfect nemesis for Sonja, that fact alone makes their characters all the more compelling. Tiath, Dimath’s son, at first seems like a straightforward saviour but develops the more we get to know him, and even Ayla and Nias, the two archer girls sent to bring Sonja back to their kingdom, have character arcs. It’s so impressive how Simone juggled everything so skilfully. Walter Geovani – how am I only now hearing about this artist? He produces page after page of stunning artwork: vast and detailed battle scenes, breath-taking vistas, plague-ridden camps, vicious and graphic fight scenes (so great), and glorious splash pages. He produces a convincingly lived-in world for Red Sonja. This guy is a bona fide revelation. I know this isn’t Geovanni’s fault but the outfit itself is kinda unforgivable though I guess it’s central to the character’s look? She’s not in the chainmail bikini the whole time anyway. There are also some amazing covers from Nicola Scott, Amanda Conner, Pia Guerra, Jenny Frison and Becky Cloonan. Fiona Staples though – wow. I wasn’t blown away with her work on Saga (boo, hiss, I know!) but she is one helluva cover artist. That Josie and the Pussycats cover was sensational and her Red Sonja here is something special – so evocative. This book has a fantastic covers gallery – I rarely mention them, though they’re a usual fixture in trades, but Red Sonja’s covers gallery is superb. I’m generally not a fantasy reader but Gail Simone’s Red Sonja is such an excellent comic, it’s worth checking out whether or not you’re into the genre. In the same way that Rick Remender’s best work is non-Marvel, it seems Simone’s good comics are non-DC-published. Full of quality writing and art, and an entertaining story to boot, Queens of Plagues is a brilliant read – highly recommended!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    This is another new series for me. I enjoyed it but there was something missing. Instead of a series this felt like a one-shot and I wanted the story fleshed out more. There was a lot crammed into about 200 pages that I think could've just as easily been expanded to twice as many issues. That being said, Red Sonja is a great character. She reminded me of Xena, albeit more drunk and bloodthirsty, but she has some similar qualities. Annisia even reminded me a bit of crazy old Callisto with a das This is another new series for me. I enjoyed it but there was something missing. Instead of a series this felt like a one-shot and I wanted the story fleshed out more. There was a lot crammed into about 200 pages that I think could've just as easily been expanded to twice as many issues. That being said, Red Sonja is a great character. She reminded me of Xena, albeit more drunk and bloodthirsty, but she has some similar qualities. Annisia even reminded me a bit of crazy old Callisto with a dash of Gabby thrown in. I'm sorry if these analogies are lost on you but WHY HAVEN'T YOU WATCHED XENA. I read this because it's by Gail Simone and I like the comics she writes. The artwork is well done but what really caught my eye were the covers drawn by Jenny Frison. She does beautiful work. Red Sonja's story could have ended here, but it didn't, so I shall continue!

  9. 4 out of 5

    L. McCoy

    Well, I tried this out because I’m trying a second book by some certain authors that I had a 1-star first experience with but keep hearing “No, they do all this other stuff that’s really good, give them another try”. After reading the garbage that is Clean Room I thought I wasn’t gonna read any Gail Simone again but I decided to try this because Simone is one of those authors I heard I should give another chance to and I was already thinking I should try Red Sonja comics in general, especially si Well, I tried this out because I’m trying a second book by some certain authors that I had a 1-star first experience with but keep hearing “No, they do all this other stuff that’s really good, give them another try”. After reading the garbage that is Clean Room I thought I wasn’t gonna read any Gail Simone again but I decided to try this because Simone is one of those authors I heard I should give another chance to and I was already thinking I should try Red Sonja comics in general, especially since I already adore another bad-ass Dynamite Comics heroine (Vampirella for those who don’t follow my reviews and know how much I fanboy over her). So anyways this book is okay. What’s it about? There’s a plague in the kingdom and all the soldiers have died from it. Now, at request of the King, Red Sonja is training a team of fierce women to fight the fish people attacking the kingdom. However things get pretty fucked up as Red Sonja begins to wonder if she’s still the bad-ass she-devil with a sword she once was or if it’s time to realize she’s not their devil anymore. Pros: The story is pretty interesting. Nothing too special but it entertained me well enough for six issues which is what it’s meant to do. The art is pretty great. It very much suits the tone of the book and makes the story pop more if that makes sense. There’s some good, bloody action which is the main thing I wanted in this book. The action scenes are pretty intense too and the wonderful art I just mentioned compliments them so well. There’s a bit of humor here and there that works pretty well. This is a bit more suspenseful and plot twisty than expected. Cons: The dialogue is not good. It was just very similar to some of the stereotypical shonen manga sort of dialogue except without the calling out attacks. There’s some parts that get into sorta boring monologuing. Those scenes where the character(s) just won’t shut up and I’m like “Sonja, just chop someone’s head off already.” The feminist stuff is kinda forced. There’s a few parts where it just sorta goes on about “Look I’m a bad-ass but I’m also a girl!”. I like several strong female characters and support equality but when you constantly cram in messages and/or reminders it gets preachy, I don’t care for that. It doesn’t help that all but one of the male characters (view spoiler)[ (and he dies pretty early on) (hide spoiler)] are assholes (not necessarily sexist but really?). The villains are kinda generic comic book villains. The ending is dumb. I can sorta appreciate how all of it was wrapped up and twisty but it was all “this thing wasn’t that thing because this guy did this stuff but made it look like this other guy...” I was like... did I just read a fantasy book or a PG-13 rated Scooby Doo except without a cool dog? Mixed thoughts: I don’t know if I like the character Red Sonja or not. On one hand she is one of those beautiful yet bad-ass kind of heroines which is definitely what she’s meant to be, I often enjoy those kinds of characters but her personality isn’t very interesting to me and I don’t get the booze thing. She is OBSESSED with booze and instead of it being an interesting character flaw or struggle (like it is with some characters like Jessica Jones) but it’s more like the spinach to her Popeye. I’d say I mostly like the character but she could be much better. Is Simone back on the reading list? While I’m not going to avoid books written by her like I used to, I can’t say I’m particularly interested in trying more of her work. I think I’d put her on the same level as most authors, her name on the writer’s spot won’t encourage me to read it but if it’s interesting or recommended to me I’ll put it wherever on my reading list. Overall: It’s okay. I would say it’s sorta entertaining and I’m gonna add volume 2 to my reading list but I wouldn’t really recommend it and it is very flawed. At the time I am typing this it is available for free on Kindle Unlimited so maybe if you’re particularly interested in Red Sonja or Gail Simone (AVOID CLEAN ROOM) and have free access to this than maybe it’s worth checking out. Otherwise, there’s a lot of better fantasy stories and more bad-ass women in comics to read about. 3/5 PS- If you want to see someone kill shit with a sword read Berserk, it’s a long series but I’ve read the first 10 volumes and it’s fucking amazing.

  10. 5 out of 5

    ♛ Garima ♛

    I enjoyed this but always felt that Sonja was not normal human. Regardless, it was great story and enjoyed art as well. Go girl, go!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Starr Light

    Bullet Review: OK, let's just get this off my chest: Red Sonja's costume is absolutely ridiculous and impractical. It's fanservice, and no amount of "But that's the way her character's costume ALWAYS has been" will convince me that wearing a chain mail bikini makes sense. NOW, let's talk about how otherwise AWESOME this comic is! I picked this up solely because Gail Simone is the author. I read her Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection and LOVED IT. So when I saw Red Sonja, I picked it up - even Bullet Review: OK, let's just get this off my chest: Red Sonja's costume is absolutely ridiculous and impractical. It's fanservice, and no amount of "But that's the way her character's costume ALWAYS has been" will convince me that wearing a chain mail bikini makes sense. NOW, let's talk about how otherwise AWESOME this comic is! I picked this up solely because Gail Simone is the author. I read her Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection and LOVED IT. So when I saw Red Sonja, I picked it up - even with my hesitations from Sonja's stupid, sexist costume. The beginning was rough to get into, as I'm no Red Sonja fan, but when I finally (at the second or third attempt) got past the first few pages, I started to like it more and more until I was hooked. The characters are amazing, from Red Sonja to Ayla and Nias to Annisia to Diamth and his son. All of them are well-rounded and fascinating. And I love the focus on the WOMEN, who are smart and competent and capable. The story is fascinating and gripping - at one point, I almost cried, it was so touching! (And I am NOT a crying person!) And the art - well, it somewhat objectifies Red Sonja, but it could be a lot worse. And the individual characters were distinct enough to tell apart. It's not like the BEST drawings or more distinctive in the world, but it's not the worst either. All in all, don't let the boobilicious cover of Red Sonja fool you - this is a good, hearty, well-written comic about a strong, capable woman and her interactions with other women in a harsh world. Gail Simone has hit another home run!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sesana

    I don't know a thing about Red Sonja, other than that she's connected to Conan the Barbarian in some way (I don't really know anything about him, either) and that she wears that stupid scale armor bikini. Not something that I would normally be clamoring to read. But I really like Gail Simone, so I thought I'd at least try. I'm glad I did. Yes, the scale bikini is still stupid. But Sonja herself is amazing. Simone writes her as strong, smart, and principled. She is absolutely the hero of her stor I don't know a thing about Red Sonja, other than that she's connected to Conan the Barbarian in some way (I don't really know anything about him, either) and that she wears that stupid scale armor bikini. Not something that I would normally be clamoring to read. But I really like Gail Simone, so I thought I'd at least try. I'm glad I did. Yes, the scale bikini is still stupid. But Sonja herself is amazing. Simone writes her as strong, smart, and principled. She is absolutely the hero of her story, and everyone else around her is a supporting character. I was just happy to read a comic book about a woman that could command the story so effectively, even in a genre that I almost never dip into. Sonja isn't the only great female character, the book is positively riddled with them. Wonderful. Beyond the characters, the story is really engaging. Sure, it requires a little suspension of disbelief now and then, but I was so entertained I didn't care. Lots of action, twists that are unexpected but not unbelievable, and a good look at Sonja's background. For somebody who'd never been interested in a sword and sorcery book before, it was all but addicting. And all the kudos in the world to Walter Geovanni. His art looks fantastic, make no mistake. But the thing I was most impressed at is how he was able to draw a woman in one of the most revealing costumes in modern comics without overly sexualizing her. No T&A panels. No framing a different character with her body. None of the things that annoy the crap out of me when I'm just trying to read a comic with an actual female in it. If Geovanni can draw freaking Red Sonja in her stupid scale bikini without turning the book into pinup central, artists on superhero books have no excuse.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    When I opened this comic and saw the introduction by author Gail Simone, I was wary, as I misread her name and thought this was written by food critic Gail Simmons (which actually wouldn't be that weird when you consider that Anthony Bourdain wrote the graphic novel Get Jiro!, but I digress). So then I realized it was written by respected comics author Gail Simone, who has already adeptly handled iconic female characters such as Batgirl and Wonder Woman, and I felt much more assured of what I wa When I opened this comic and saw the introduction by author Gail Simone, I was wary, as I misread her name and thought this was written by food critic Gail Simmons (which actually wouldn't be that weird when you consider that Anthony Bourdain wrote the graphic novel Get Jiro!, but I digress). So then I realized it was written by respected comics author Gail Simone, who has already adeptly handled iconic female characters such as Batgirl and Wonder Woman, and I felt much more assured of what I was about to read. When I originally saw some of the artwork, including the cleavetastic cover, I was surprised a woman would have any part of this scantily clad barbarian goddess -- surely feminists somewhere are burning this comic in effigy -- but after reading it, I came to appreciate how well she subverted the entire genre by writing a book full of dangerous, strong, passionate and independent female characters that needed no help from the men around them. After all, almost every major character in the book is female -- protagonist Red Sonja, bodyguards/comic relief providers Ayla and Nias, antagonist Dark Annisia, and lowly slave Lila -- and they forge a great story, despite their lack of armor, or much clothing at all, for that matter. As an aside, writing this review made me think of another, totally unrelated, take on female (lack of) armor from College Humor. Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I tried to read this for Pink Taco week, I really tried. Did not finish. For me as a kid, Red Sonja was indelibly associated with Brigitte Nielsen running around in that skimpy chain mail bikini, juggling her way through a masterpiece of cinematic superficiality. I can't even claim to have seen the damned movie (THAT's how boring it must be, because At that age I watched nearly anything with hot women, big action or gushing blood). So this book coasts in on an easy There's some fun moments (RS waki I tried to read this for Pink Taco week, I really tried. Did not finish. For me as a kid, Red Sonja was indelibly associated with Brigitte Nielsen running around in that skimpy chain mail bikini, juggling her way through a masterpiece of cinematic superficiality. I can't even claim to have seen the damned movie (THAT's how boring it must be, because At that age I watched nearly anything with hot women, big action or gushing blood). So this book coasts in on an easy There's some fun moments (RS waking up drunk and still kicking multiple asses), but the overall storyline is a total downer (fighting a plague?). There's plenty of in-battle narration by Red Sonja (how anyone can maintain that kind of presence of mind I'll never understand), and there's even more of the heightened melodrama you find in all the best soap operas (aggrandizing accusations, weeping for thine enemy, unquenchable guilt). Meh, so mediocre.

  15. 4 out of 5

    47Time

    Feminism rears its ugly head. Sonja was never feminine, but here, on top of being a skilled fighter, she is shown as a drunkard. Way to go! If that isn't equality, I don't know what is. Bring the beer! Let the wine flow! Kill some bad guys and get to drinking again. Pass the flagon! It's like she does nothing else in her down time. I get that she's a fighter first and foremost, but come on! Have a drink of WATER every once in a while. King Dimath frees Red Sonja after defeating her captor, king B Feminism rears its ugly head. Sonja was never feminine, but here, on top of being a skilled fighter, she is shown as a drunkard. Way to go! If that isn't equality, I don't know what is. Bring the beer! Let the wine flow! Kill some bad guys and get to drinking again. Pass the flagon! It's like she does nothing else in her down time. I get that she's a fighter first and foremost, but come on! Have a drink of WATER every once in a while. King Dimath frees Red Sonja after defeating her captor, king Bazrat, in battle. Months later he sends Nias and Ayla to summon her to his court. He is fighting a losing battle with the Zamorans from without and the plague from within. He needs Sonja to get mildly sober and train his remaining able-bodied subjects. (view spoiler)[Training is cut short by the arrival of the enemy led by Dark Annisia, her sister from the slave pits. She accuses Sonja for the deaths of the captives they were forced to kill in the arena. Sonja suddenly realises she has the plague - this is not explained properly, so I'll chalk it off to heavyhanded storytelling. She gives up to allow the survivors of the battle to live out their days isolated from the rest of the world because of being infected by the plague - which they are not, it turns out. Annisia exiles her to the snowy mountains of the north. While passing out from a fever Sonja remembers the years of her youth when her village was massacred by marauders led by Ryshak while she was away with her father and brothers on a hunt. Her revenge transforms her from an innocent girl into a deadly fighter. There's no fairy godmother in this origin story, only a 12-year-old's fighting skill and need for revenge. Back in the present Sonja is found by Nias and Ayla who must bring her to the king's son who can administer a cure. She faces Annisia, but their battle is interrupted by king Bazrat. Where was this guy hiding? The plague that has ravaged the land is his doing. It's only a poison in reality for which Annisia has razed many towns. Her fighting spirit is broken by this revelation which turns the spirits that haunt her mind against her. Or wait, no it doesn't! What a twist! She attacks Bazrat's men and takes a slew of arrows to save Sonja. And survives! They just don't make arrows like they used to. Bazrat is killed by a woman he enslaved with the very poison he used on the people. Annisia is killed by Dimath's son. He always wanted to prove to his father that he wasn't a pussy. He even banded with Bazrat until Dimath was killed, so Sonja doesn't let him live. How does Sonja celebrate the victory? By planning to get drunk in 'legendary fashion'. (hide spoiler)]

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    I am so torn. This graphic novel has very well done characterization, great use of flash backs in a layer fashion, good plotlines and excellent buildup of tension, great villains of all types – meaty, tragic, and unexpected, it passes the Bechtel test with flying colors, I LOVED Sonya’s “generals”, the twists at the end were awesome, especially the bit with the wine, loved the drawings, character designs, landscapes, coloring, and overall it was just a great story. But OMG that metal bikini. I’m no I am so torn. This graphic novel has very well done characterization, great use of flash backs in a layer fashion, good plotlines and excellent buildup of tension, great villains of all types – meaty, tragic, and unexpected, it passes the Bechtel test with flying colors, I LOVED Sonya’s “generals”, the twists at the end were awesome, especially the bit with the wine, loved the drawings, character designs, landscapes, coloring, and overall it was just a great story. But OMG that metal bikini. I’m not even talking about it from an objectification standpoint – let’s just say EVERYONE in the graphic medium is objectified and move on – I’m talking from a damned practicality stand point. I mean – the chaffing! Good God woman, how, how, how do you not have massive damaged skin issues!? Where do you keep things in an outfit with no pockets? How does that little hanging bit not get caught on things? And for the love that all is holy how are you not COLD? Do! Not! Get! Arghhhh!!!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Diz

    This was much better than I expected. Gail Simone tells an intriguing story of honor, guilt, and revenge. Red Sonja was really likable as a character, and her motivation in this story is very clear. While the covers are a bit over sexualized, the actual story treats the character with respect.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Donovan

    Eh.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

    I've heard of Red Sonja before, though only as a really sexist comic character that didn't sound at all appealing or interesting. I remember the arguments and debates around the SFWA Bulletin cover that was a tribute to Red Sonja in all her chain mail bikini glory: looking at it now, the cover itself seems less offensive, but the defence of it by Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg remains completely offensive. Gah. Need to get that bad taste out of my mouth. So I'll talk some more about Gail Simo I've heard of Red Sonja before, though only as a really sexist comic character that didn't sound at all appealing or interesting. I remember the arguments and debates around the SFWA Bulletin cover that was a tribute to Red Sonja in all her chain mail bikini glory: looking at it now, the cover itself seems less offensive, but the defence of it by Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg remains completely offensive. Gah. Need to get that bad taste out of my mouth. So I'll talk some more about Gail Simone! I'd heard of her work on other comics, but I hadn't read anything she'd worked on yet, so I was very curious about this. I love that she's taken this sexist character and surrounded her with other women, peopled the world with strong women who in various different ways support each other and make the world a better place. There are some good male characters, too, but the focus is definitely on women -- and women as protectors, as fighters, as able to fight for themselves. Sonja herself isn't the most likeable character in some ways: if she chooses to wear that chain mail bikini, for one thing, her taste has got to be terrible. She's uncouth and she drinks a lot and she glories in violence. But... she's also honourable, brave, capable of love. Her origin story isn't anything particularly special, and maybe I wouldn't find this book so good if I wasn't so well aware of the sexist past behind it, but I did really enjoy it, and enjoyed seeing the range of female talent that went into making it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    The Red Sonja movie is a guilty pleasure, yet I have never read the comic, perhaps for fear of what the industry would do with a metal bikini-clad heroine. When I learned that Gail Simone was rebooting the character, I decided it was about time I get on it. I am so glad I did. Sonja is still a metal-bikini clad warrior, but, unlike some equally dressed ladies from pulp scifi/fantasy (lookin’ at you, Dejah Thoris), she is a strong, take charge woman – without having to repeatedly proclaim that sh The Red Sonja movie is a guilty pleasure, yet I have never read the comic, perhaps for fear of what the industry would do with a metal bikini-clad heroine. When I learned that Gail Simone was rebooting the character, I decided it was about time I get on it. I am so glad I did. Sonja is still a metal-bikini clad warrior, but, unlike some equally dressed ladies from pulp scifi/fantasy (lookin’ at you, Dejah Thoris), she is a strong, take charge woman – without having to repeatedly proclaim that she has no need of a man in order to prove herself. Her reputation as a warrior is known and is respected, which is why the king of __ enlists her aid in defending his kingdom. She proceeds to teach everyone to fight, men and women, but the battle itself is where things start to fall apart for her when she comes face to face with her friend and former fellow prisoner. Following a brutal loss, Sonja is exiled and learns and remembers a thing or two about humility, strength and overcoming her failures, in order to return to the defence of the kingdom and earn herself a long respite at the local tavern.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gianfranco Mancini

    The good: nice story full of twists and Sonja's two young bodyguard/generals made me laugh a lot ("Oh lady of the excellent cleavage" and "Queen of all fermented beverages"!!! XD) The bad and the ugly: Sonja's origin story reboot.. without the sexual violence and the magic sword from the Goddess it was like reading an "ultimate" version of the character or about just another one with the same name. And the new origin seems just the same of Conan in the awesome John Milius movie: she becomes a sla The good: nice story full of twists and Sonja's two young bodyguard/generals made me laugh a lot ("Oh lady of the excellent cleavage" and "Queen of all fermented beverages"!!! XD) The bad and the ugly: Sonja's origin story reboot.. without the sexual violence and the magic sword from the Goddess it was like reading an "ultimate" version of the character or about just another one with the same name. And the new origin seems just the same of Conan in the awesome John Milius movie: she becomes a slave and gladiator after her parents death. Besides there are almost no references to R.E. Howard Hyborian Age, but for a pair of names, and suddenly the author reminds herself this had to be a fantasy story and adds fishmen that seem really out of Dave Jones crew in Pirates of the Caribbean and a slave-keeper Toda far relative of Dragonlance Fewmaster Toede... Really? A good first volume if you never read Red Sonja before, but for old fans this is just not so good. Meh. : /

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    4.5* This volume starts out several years ago with Sonja being found in a gladiators fighting pit and being set free by the new ruling King. She was found with another female warrior, Annisia, and both were shown kindness by the King. Sonja returns to fulfil a blood debt she feels is owed and to help the city prepare for battle. Her former fighting mate is at the helm of the invading army, she kills the king and declares that the plague has settled on the city including Sonja. She exiles Sonja to 4.5* This volume starts out several years ago with Sonja being found in a gladiators fighting pit and being set free by the new ruling King. She was found with another female warrior, Annisia, and both were shown kindness by the King. Sonja returns to fulfil a blood debt she feels is owed and to help the city prepare for battle. Her former fighting mate is at the helm of the invading army, she kills the king and declares that the plague has settled on the city including Sonja. She exiles Sonja to the wilderness to die and orders that no one is to enter or leave the city, leaving the inhabitants to die. With the help of her loyal bodyguards she fights the sickness but finds that there are worse enemies than Annisia and she is brought face to face with an evil she thought long gone. I loved this series, I've now read quite a few issues with Red Sonja and the more I read about her the more I like her character. Getting a bit more backstory on her gives her more depth, she's more than just a hard drinking, wise cracking warrior, she is also compassionate and loyal, these are the qualities that made me like her so much. I'm even getting used to her rather questionable armour or lack of to be more precise. The art itself is pretty stunning; beautiful, brightly coloured panels that show a lot of consistency with the drawing style. The fight and battle scenes have lots of energy and they are pretty brutal with the amount of gore that is displayed. There is also a gallery of artwork at the back of the volume and lots of beautifully styled covers are displayed. Fantastic volume, great art and a character that is becoming a favourite.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    I've never read anything about Red Sonja before. The whole barbarian thing was just never my thing. BUT, I was incredibly excited for this story by Gail Simone. The story didn't disappoint. There are plenty of flashbacks to satisfy the casual reader that doesn't know Red Sonja's history, and this is both a good thing - and a bad. It tended to slow the overall story down. And I kept wondering if her history was being re-written for this story, or just told in a new way. Either way, it was somewhat d I've never read anything about Red Sonja before. The whole barbarian thing was just never my thing. BUT, I was incredibly excited for this story by Gail Simone. The story didn't disappoint. There are plenty of flashbacks to satisfy the casual reader that doesn't know Red Sonja's history, and this is both a good thing - and a bad. It tended to slow the overall story down. And I kept wondering if her history was being re-written for this story, or just told in a new way. Either way, it was somewhat distracting...just enough to detract from my enjoyment a bit. The only other thing that was slightly unenjoyable was the speech. It felt jarring and unrealistic, like what someone thought people in ancient times spoke like, though I'm fairly sure that this type of speech is centuries after this fantasy-time-period. Then again, it's a fantasy. It can be whatever it wants. I enjoyed this story. I'm not sure I'll purposefully seek out more barbarian stories (unless they contain Jason Momoa, perhaps).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    I read this because I am trying to read as many new kick ass women superhero books (and especially written and/or drawn by women, whenever possible) and because Jan's review highlights Red Sonja's chain mail bikini. She's hot, she knows how to party, and she kills a lot of bad guys. She's a medieval-sounding superhero girl! We can like her strength and, what one of her FEMALE bodyguard says, "Oh she of the excellent cleavage." Sexist men CAN have it all, it seems, even with a female writer. So S I read this because I am trying to read as many new kick ass women superhero books (and especially written and/or drawn by women, whenever possible) and because Jan's review highlights Red Sonja's chain mail bikini. She's hot, she knows how to party, and she kills a lot of bad guys. She's a medieval-sounding superhero girl! We can like her strength and, what one of her FEMALE bodyguard says, "Oh she of the excellent cleavage." Sexist men CAN have it all, it seems, even with a female writer. So Simone has a sense of humor, she acknowledges the sexist? sexy? historical legacy of her as hot and then makes her funnier, stronger, and a big drinker. I didn't know much about her historical and much revived character, but this has to be one of the most entertaining, even though I am not a big sword and sorcery comics guy. I do like that Dynamite gets a different woman comics artist to do the cover for each issue. That's cool. Simone's own art is good if not great. I liked this. Maybe a 3.5 for me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Benji Glaab

    3.5 🌟 Red Sonja, AKA the she devil with a sword is a fairly awesome character. Sonja must save lot's of $$$'s on her laundry bill being so scantily clad, though I'm sure she would prefer to bathe in the blood of her enemies most days. This is a re-hash of the old stories. An origin story making it a fine place to begin exploring this primal fantasy world. Volume one is great visually. I like the writing well enough, and the action is gory as can be. Sonja is one lady I wouldn't cross. She'll gut yo 3.5 🌟 Red Sonja, AKA the she devil with a sword is a fairly awesome character. Sonja must save lot's of $$$'s on her laundry bill being so scantily clad, though I'm sure she would prefer to bathe in the blood of her enemies most days. This is a re-hash of the old stories. An origin story making it a fine place to begin exploring this primal fantasy world. Volume one is great visually. I like the writing well enough, and the action is gory as can be. Sonja is one lady I wouldn't cross. She'll gut you, chop off your head and use it as a tankard to swill ale from afterwards. I believe volume 2 could be even more entertaining.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sumit Singla

    Didn't expect too much from this one, but it was surprisingly good. However, I think it does focus more on making women in armour look good, rather than on giving them depth of character. Didn't expect too much from this one, but it was surprisingly good. However, I think it does focus more on making women in armour look good, rather than on giving them depth of character.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea 🏳️‍🌈

    3.5 stars. This is a really awesome book about a badass heroine. Not gonna lie, I was a little put off by that cover but I follow Gail Simone on Twitter and she's done talks about the difference between the typical sexualization of female characters and a female character with agency choosing sexy clothing. That being said, I appreciate that when it was time to get down to business, Sonja wore actual protective armor. Simone made sure to keep that aspect realistic. I know nothing about Sonja. No 3.5 stars. This is a really awesome book about a badass heroine. Not gonna lie, I was a little put off by that cover but I follow Gail Simone on Twitter and she's done talks about the difference between the typical sexualization of female characters and a female character with agency choosing sexy clothing. That being said, I appreciate that when it was time to get down to business, Sonja wore actual protective armor. Simone made sure to keep that aspect realistic. I know nothing about Sonja. Not a goddamn thing and I chose to read this solely because of Gail. She can get me to read just about anything because I've only been disappointed in one of her works. This book was great. the beginning was a little exposition heavy but it really kicks off later on. I love all of the female characters. I loved Sonja's backstory. I loved the relationship between Sonja and Annisia (always down for women in love). On top of all of that, Sonja is just a cool ass chick. She had her own code, she's a valiant warrior and she's fun to watch. I just wanted more of her traveling the world and kicking men's asses. She's my favorite type of warrior: the lovable Rogue who acts like they don't do company but are actually very protective over everyone. I love her! So, I'll definitely pick up the next book. I think it'll be a lot more enjoyable because there's no need to set up who Sonja is after this one.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sans

    A fast, fun read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rinn

    I received this book for free from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Also posted on my book blog, Rinn Reads. I have to admit, I know nothing about the original Red Sonja series – apart from that it’s a ‘swords and sorcery’ fantasy, complete with busty women wearing chainmail bikinis. This reboot series continues the traditional – but it works. It doesn’t feel over the top cheesy, it doesn’t feel silly. Although Sonja is not really in the habit of wearing much, the reader knows that the I received this book for free from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Also posted on my book blog, Rinn Reads. I have to admit, I know nothing about the original Red Sonja series – apart from that it’s a ‘swords and sorcery’ fantasy, complete with busty women wearing chainmail bikinis. This reboot series continues the traditional – but it works. It doesn’t feel over the top cheesy, it doesn’t feel silly. Although Sonja is not really in the habit of wearing much, the reader knows that the respect and attention she commands is not due to her body or what’s on show, but her skill and talent. From the very beginning her character is set up very nicely – the book opens with a small gang of thieves ready to rob Sonja whilst she sleeps in a drunken haze. Not that it stops her from absolutely terrifying them. Immediately the reader knows that this is a lady that you shouldn’t mess with – but she’s also someone who knows when to show mercy. One thing I loved about the book was that Sonja was not the only skilled female warrior. In fact there was a whole army of them. It seems to be a common trope in fantasy – a women who is particularly talented at fighting or using weaponry, and even in these fantasy worlds where these sorts of skills are practically necessary for survival it’s still shocking and unusual. Not in this world. The story is quick-paced, with smoothly flowing action scenes, and just generally good fun. My only complaint is how easily Sonja gives up because of a certain event about halfway through the story. From how she acts throughout the first half, I would expect her to take any negative events and use them to motivate her into saving and protecting more people. But no, she just gives up – that was quite disappointing to be honest. To have such a positive and strong character suddenly reduced to nothing just didn’t seem right, but it did open up paths to her origin story which was very sad. Although the book contains typical fantasy fare – scantily-clad women, female armour not being much more than a bikini, brawny men – it’s all in good spirit and is quite aware of how silly it is sometimes. I mean who in their right mind would go into battle wearing not much more than their underwear? It also had it’s humorous moments, like Sonja’s reaction when all the pubs in the city are closed down. As for the artwork – it was brilliant, and the issue covers and bonus material covers were stunning, showcasing an array of talents by various female artists. Overall, a recommended read for fans of ‘swords and sorcery’ fantasy who don’t mind their protagonists wearing a little less than a chainmail shirt!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Athena Shardbearer

    Drunken Heroes "Mistress, how can we repay you? Anything you wish, it's yours, anthing."   "Re-open the taverns, dear one, because I'm going to get drunk in legendary fashion."   Red Sonja is such a badass. She fights, she's beautiful and she loves to drink. Not just drink, but get drunk, and she doesn't care who knows it.   I have been waiting for this one to come out and I received a ARC on netgalley and I love it! There are monsters that look like the swamp thing, ghost that haunt her "slave sister Drunken Heroes "Mistress, how can we repay you? Anything you wish, it's yours, anthing."   "Re-open the taverns, dear one, because I'm going to get drunk in legendary fashion."   Red Sonja is such a badass. She fights, she's beautiful and she loves to drink. Not just drink, but get drunk, and she doesn't care who knows it.   I have been waiting for this one to come out and I received a ARC on netgalley and I love it! There are monsters that look like the swamp thing, ghost that haunt her "slave sister", bandits of men trying to steal from her and a loyal following.   Blessed Sword Mistress   Please Nias, call me Sonja   Blessed Sonja of the Flashing Blades–   Not better. What is it?   She fights to avenge her fathers death, she fights for the king that she believes is true and fights to stop her slave sister from all the wrong she is doing. I mean who closes all the taverns and bans that sell of alcohol. No one does that in Sonja's world.   Anyone that loves sword fighting, ghost, monsters and woman running around in metal bikins and boots please read this book.    

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