Comic Vine Review


Red Sonja #2 - Contagion Review


The closest of allies are now the deadliest of foes -- Sonja faces off against Dark Annisia!

The Good

RED SONJA is right at home in the sword and sorcery game, and this issue opens with a delightful juxtaposition familiar to fans of the genre -- a hearty battle sequence overlaid with internal monologue about the meaning of war. Gail Simone and Walter Geovani are in their element here, sparing no brutality, and crafting a fascinating world that feels "just right" for Red Sonja.

The battle sequences are appropriately barbaric, and Geovani is a master of melee. Complementing the sparring (wait, we're reading a sword and sorcery book for something besides the battles?) is a compelling rivalry between Sonja and Annisia. Their antagonism is savage; where the two were placed reluctantly in a gladiator-style battle before, they're now genuine opponents. That they once had a sisterly, loving bond makes their struggle even more powerful, especially as Annisia crosses the line and forces Sonja's hand.

Annisia's motivations are frightening and compelling; she's got her own kind of plague to deal with (which Simone and Geovani are quite careful to depict as possibly-real, possibly-all-in-her-mind), and she's well-placed as a foe for Sonja. It's challenging to create a formidable enemy for a fearless warrior like Sonja, but the combination of personal history and very personal demons makes Annisia an excellent match.

The Bad

The pacing was incredibly fast on this issue, jumping from battle to backstory to battle to GHOSTS! to TRAGIC SLAYING! to PLAGUE! to monologuing to exile, with little room to breathe. I'd be okay with a slightly more rambling and deliberate format here; unless Sonja is truly in a rush to die, I think there's room to flesh out a bit more of what's going on -- especially since some of those things are pretty big.

The Verdict

This issue has definitely left us poised for a hell of a story to follow -- there's a powerful antagonist still unvanquished, a deadly plague to quell, a difficult past to deal with -- it's pretty obvious that Sonja isn't ever really going to just surrender and walk away, so I'm looking forward to seeing how she overcomes this minor setback. RED SONJA has all the makings of an epic tale...provided our fiery heroine doesn't plague out, of course.

10 Comments Refresh
Posted by MissJ

I am also remiss for not noting Jenny Frison's INCREDIBLE cover. It's exactly right.

Posted by The Stegman

I suppose I'll give this a shot. Never read Red Sonja before.

Posted by Tev18

UGH i left it in my bin on accident #

Edited by millennium

i dropped this series after this issue to me the last 2 issues have just been a giant cluster f*># of problems in terms of the story (like what is this plague, why should she care about what happens to this kingdom, who is the king too her other than that guy that saved her, why does sonja and annisia have this strong almost sibling like bond, why is annisia leading a army of beast men or man beast thats just some of the questions that don't get answered)but the main problem is that this was not a INTRO ARC for a "NEW" series it felt like this should have been a major 6 issue arc that would of been used for say a mile stone number like 50 or 100 but what we got was a crammed and ruched version of something that could of been good

Edited by iaconpoint

I love bad ass babes and would love to check this out, but I can't get passed the writer. Overrated and out of touch with the 21st century female are the words that come to mind with her. Conner, Scott and Immonen come to mind among many others, but this writer isn't nearly be-all/end-all she thinks she is.

Edited by lykopis


I don't know what to think of this. I enjoyed the first issue immensely, I genuinely loved how Red Sonja was depicted -- strong, powerful, vicious and a true warrior. I am kind of confused with this issue -- way too fast, this could have been a couple of issues worth of fighting, with flashbacks to explain how these two got together, etc. "Sisterly" affection or not, I am going to give Simone the benefit of the doubt and assume all the questions I have will be answered over the next couple of issues. Not that it would be the best solution but this does turn out that way -- Red Sonja banished and send to the mountainside happened way too fast and it would have been a lot better had the pace not been so quick (and overwhelming, as a reader.)

Fair review -- I did love the fight scenes and the art is fantastic. My fingers are crossed.

Posted by greenenvy

Why is red Sonja is getting praise more and more professional reviews from comic vine? It has a lot to do with Gail Simon writing it I suppose. I like red Sonja and Gail Simon too but when a certain character like red Sonja is usually under radar and then is hyped because a popular writer is writing that character, so all it takes is a damn good writer to make a character more reviewed and talked about. K then I like to see johns or Simon write Dejah thoris and see how much hype that will get ha.

Edited by MissJ

@greenenvy: I think there are some other factors that play into CV's coverage, too. It's a relaunch of a series, which means there's interest in seeing where it will go (Dynamite is all over those lately, and we've been covering many of them -- Owl, Black Bat, etc). It's also a female-led title, and it's not in the superhero genre, which I think round out our review slate. I'd be reviewing it even if the writer weren't as well-known as Simone.

Posted by Perfect 10

great book, deserves 5. best book put out by dynamite despite my love of damsels.

Posted by Perfect 10

@millennium: i think you are thinking too much on the questions and not just enjoying the ride. all of those questions are answered in the series. like her relationship with annisia, they became friends as fellow prisoners, we dont have to SEE them become friends to understand the bond they have. as for why sonja would help the king, reread issue one. she is a woman of honor, she isnt going to stand by and let this kingdom be destroyed especially not by the people that once held her prsioner, and the kind is the one that saved her from these same people.