Monika and the main protagonist of Battle Chasers, the legendary swordsman Garrison, knew each other since childhood. At an early age they both shared a natural talent for combat, and when they were children Monika actually had the more advanced skills of the two, first training Garrison in the art of swordsmanship. They also shared a great passion for adventure, but possessed very different moral values: Monika had little regard for the law and felt that personal freedom trumped everything else, while Garrison had a disciplined outlook on life and felt that it was his duty to uphold justice. These differences prevented them from developing a closer relationship as they grew older, and once they reached adulthood they had gone separate ways. Monika, true to her amoral nature, decided to pursue a career as a mercenary, offering her services to the highest bidder. She became known as Red Monika due to her bright red hair, and developed a fearsome reputation as a deadly bounty hunter with killer looks.
Red Monika was created in 1998 by writer/artist Joe Madureira for Battle Chasers, a successful but short-lived comic book series published by Cliffhanger. She first appeared in Battle Chasers #1 and was featured quite prominently on a variant cover.
Red Monika was inspired by two other red-haired femme fatales: The warrior woman Red Sonja (for her fighting prowess, skimpy attire, and obviously similar name), and the animated toon Jessica Rabbit (for her exaggerated physical attributes). Joe Madureira described his approach to her character in the sketchbook section of Battle Chasers Collected Edition #1: "The baddest of comic bad-girls. That's what I wanted Monika to be. Obviously, her proportions were... shall we say, exaggerated, to sort of poke a little fun at how women are portrayed in comics today."
With her bright red hair and over-the-top figure, Red Monika became arguably the most popular and recognizable character in Battle Chasers. Despite the title's popularity, it only ran nine issues due to the extremely slow working pace of its creator. But Red Monika has remained a popular subject for pinup artists despite appearing in only a handful of comics over a decade ago.
Major Story Arcs
Monika's childhood friend Garrison became renowned as a swordsman without equal and was revered as a great hero of the people, though his heroic exploits also garnered him many enemies. On the day Garrison was to marry a young woman named Vionna, who had become his true love, several of his enemies attacked and murdered her. This sent Garrison into a profound state of despair. Believing that his career as an adventurer had led to Vionna's death, he renounced his fighting life altogether and drowned his sorrows with alcohol.
Red Monika later tracked down Garrison and paid him a visit, their first meeting since they had parted ways back in their teenage years. Monika offered Garrison the opportunity to renew his adventuring career, saying that she needed his help to break someone out of a formidable prison called Skyhold. But Garrison brusquely turned her down, insisting that his fighting days were over. Disgusted that her childhood friend and fellow warrior had become a dispirited alcoholic, Monika told Garrison to go to hell and left him to his drinking.
Monika's attempt on Skyhold prison did not quite go as planned, and a group of four dangerous super-powered criminals, all enemies of Garrison, were accidentally allowed to escape during the breakout. This and other events finally stirred Garrison out of his drunken self-pity, and he had no choice but to take up his sword again as a result. Meanwhile, the botched prison breakout engineered by Monika landed her into serious trouble with a local ruler, King Vaneer
. The King's forces apprehended her after a considerable struggle and took her into custody. Garrison arrived at King Vaneer's court and personally vouched for Monika's innocence, rescuing her from severe punishment.
Because of this, Monika and Garrison seemed to have finally brushed their collective differences aside. It was hard to determine whether or not Monika was showing deeper feelings towards Garrison or if she was merely being flirtatious (certainly one of her personality traits), or if she was perhaps delirious from injuries she had sustained while resisting capture. It was very clear that Garrison still loved his deceased wife, always wearing a locket with her picture in it during battle. However, all indications were that Monika and Garrison may have been heading down the relationship road sometime in the near future.