Review: Red Sonja Blue

The She-Devil With a Sword loses her top and kills a monster, in this surprisingly well written one-shot.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

I have to admit that I'm not that familiar with the works of fantasy author Peter Brett, however that might have to change after reading Brett's story for Red Sonja Blue, a new one-shot from Dynamite Entertainment.

I've been a fan of Red Sonja for years, but it's rare that I'm more impressed by the script than the art. Brett not only seems very familiar with Sonja and her world, he also has some interesting insights into why she acts the way that she does.

When the issue opens, Red Sonja is on a quest to save a young man named Bregan from a sorcerer who intends to sacrifice him to a demon called Bhamothes. And during the battle with Bhamothes, the demon actually catches Red Sonja and rips off her chainmail bikini top. Of course, Sonja being Sonja, she slices his throat in the same motion and slays him almost immediately thereafter. The entire sequence took what could have been just an exploitative moment and actually made Sonja look stronger for it.

Keep in mind, this takes place within just the first few pages of the issue. The bulk of the issue develops Bregan's relationship with Sonja as he attempts to get to know her. More importantly to him, Bregan is trying to find a way around Red Sonja's infamous vow not to love anyone who hasn't defeated her in combat.

The intriguing thing here is that isn't how Sonja defines her vow and it shows that Brett has put a lot of thought into her motivations. He also demonstrates why she chooses to wear the metal bikini for its reputation alone, as a gang of bandits actually attacks her because they don't believe that she's really Red Sonja without her infamous costume. In a fun moment, Sonja even admits that the armor sometimes burns her skin during the day.

Also, for old school Red Sonja fans, Brett even comes up with an origin for her blue one-piece suit, which was very clever within the context of the story.

Walter Geovani provided the art for this extended one-shot and he's become much better than I remember him being on his earliest issues of Red Sonja. Geovani is particularly impressive on the first two pages as Sonja scales the sorcerer's tower in the middle of a snowfall. Geovani also has a good handle on drawing distinctive faces and emotions from Sonja and her supporting players.

The two main action sequences were also told very neatly. Geovani's pages have a good sense of motion, even if Sonja looked a little ridiculous covering her breasts while swinging her sword on one of the pages.

Everything up to this point would have made Red Sonja Blue an entertaining issue. But what really puts it over the top are the last few pages, in which Sonja does something really horrible. To a certain extent, she's justified in her response. However, Sonja goes so far that even she seems shocked by what she's done. It's the kind of mistake that she can't take back. And the real crime here is that we don't see the consequences of her actions. It's a powerful ending that's practically begging to be explored.

If Peter Brett ever wants to write the ongoing Red Sonja series, Dynamite should hand it to him immediately. His version of Sonja is one that I want to see again.