Red Hair Green Eyes, Sonja Realize
“I am not your poem, foolish man.” Or an object, or a piece of meat, or to be underestimated. Though really, nobody says it better than the lady herself. She has a certain…way with words. And swords, can’t forget about the swords.
Red Sonja has only gotten better with age, and now she is truly in her element. In 1934, Robert E. Howard first gave life to her in the short story “The Shadow of the Vulture”. She first accompanied the famous Conan the Barbarian in 1973. Though important, that’s the past. The present is where it goes down. Or in the Dm’s. Present sounds good though.
The focus of Red Sonja really needs to be on the 2013 series by Gail Simone. We know pretty much everything Gail touches turns to magical cupcakes full of awesome, sprinkled with fantastic on top, and Sonja is no exception.
This series is published by Dynamite, and starts off with Sonja being fetched from an ale-fueled slumber by two young women who have been assigned to be her bodyguards. They come asking help from their king, as their people and land have been threatened by squishy and terrifying water-dwelling human hybrids. Sonja goes with them, after killing a few guys who are threatening her and her new ankle hangers. She teaches the woman of the village to fight in only a week, but as the leader of the invading troop reveals themselves, Sonja is taken aback.
The Red lady was held captive as a slave along with another woman named Annisia, whom she calls her sister. They were forced to fight other slaves for sport, though it didn’t exactly go as planned when they were pitted against each other. It is discovered that Annisia doesn’t exactly feel the same warmth for Sonja as she once did, as talks to spirits that aren’t there. As she rides up with the enemy army, it is clear that Dark Annisia is a very different woman than Sonja once knew. Annisia gives Sonja the chance to either surrender to save her people from being slaughtered by the much bigger army, or to keep fighting merely for pride. Sonja surrenders, and is exiled into the forest.
This series is done in a lot of flashbacks, and we discover that the people of her home village think she is dead. A man, Malak, is proclaiming that Sonja was his wife, and he takes advantage of the villager’s pity by racking up quite a few tabs and owing a lot of money. Of course, he doesn’t push a pretty lady out of his bed when they feel sorrow for him, either. Some husband. Sonja returns to this, and is more than a little pissed. She confronts Malak, and he tells her he loves her. However, Sonja is not one to pity just for pity’s sake, but does honor him as he ends up defending her against some people of the town.
This series switches up the script, with making women the forefront of the story, and men second. There are prominent male characters, but Gail Simone writes in such a way that we get something fresh and new, all while keep a great character balanced. Walter Geovani lays down some awesome artwork, and doesn’t disrespect Sonja by making her dainty or stereotypical. She’s been hardcore forever, let’s keep her that way.
Even as a child, Red Sonja rushed to defend her father from the attacker’s that were burning down her village, and had to witness her entire family being slaughtered. The particularly slimy creature that held her captive thought her no more than a mere girl, and it was this man who won the prize of being her first kill, and the first time she had to kill to save her own life.
Red Sonja is classic badass barbarian, chainmail bikini and all. Though she is the fiercest warrior around, many people, including her own father, underestimated her for being a woman. She is repeatedly undervalued throughout the series for her gender, but always makes a fool out of the accuser. Or cuts of his head. She’s pretty skilled at chopping off peoples’ heads. Let’s just say that she wasn’t trained for cleaning the house or washing the dishes, and serves up fierce female ferocity time and time again. There really is no better way to break sexist and asinine stereotypes.
It’s hard to find a flaw to Red Sonja, and she is the ultimate warrior. However, it is revealed that she herself is her biggest weakness, always seeking to honor her family and defend the innocent, which puts an enormous amount of pressure on her back.
She is the quintessential swordsmith and more anti-heroine and heroine at some times. But her heart is what shines fiercest of all. I would say her sword but it’s usually covered in blood. There is a reason that she is called Red Sonja, and lives up to that name in every aspect possible.