When Gail Simone announced Legends of Red Sonja, my heart skipped a beat. I jumped on the title a few months ago when she took over and never looked back. Red Sonja is a female character often dismissed as eye candy for men rather than a strong, well-developed female character. Simone’s love for Sonja is helping comic readers (myself included) embrace the she-devil and all she stands for.
Legends of Red Sonja is an anthology of Red Sonja stories written by female creators. Simone has invited these women to come and spin their interpretation of Sonja, and they do not disappoint. Legends of Red Sonja tells the tale of a group of warriors, the Grey Riders, out to hunt Sonja and carry out their revenge for all the trouble she has caused them. As they rest by the fire, they swap stories of their encounter with Sonja, filling the reader in on how brave, fierce, and brash Sonja is.
The story is told as a series of legends, which add a unique element to the character. Those who have read any Red Sonja titles know of her fighting prowess, but how much of what is told is true? The writers leave it to the reader to pick fact from fiction and form their own opinion of Sonja. Gail Simone, Nancy A. Collins, and Devin Grayson bring a fiery element to Sonja, and the three writers flow from one story to another seamlessly. The artwork by Jack Jadson, Noah Salonga, and Carla Speed McNeil has individual styles without jarring the reader from story to story.
Readers do not have to be intimately familiar with Red Sonja or her history. In fact, not knowing the character at all may make the experience that much more fun as you attempt to discern who she is. Legends of Red Sonja is a fantastic start to a collaboration between acclaimed creators on one of comic’s most popular non-superhero female characters.