The first thing you will notice about the cover is that Red Sonja has gone into battle in a bikini. Ah, the amazingly protective battle bikini. There is one reason that I am reading Red Sonja – Gail Simone. She did not disappoint me. Gail Simone’s Red Sonja is fierce and grumpy. Simone leans in to the ridiculous bikini armor early so that when she gets into the story, you aren’t thinking about it. Somehow, even with the bikini battle armor, Simone’s Red Sonja is less sexualized. She has excellent cleavage, but her deadly skills and drinking are what she is known for.
There are some great explanations for why a woman would ride into battle with her abdomen exposed. My favorite is the most obvious answer after “duh, patriarchy” – behold the power of the uterus!
Queen of Plagues is a world building volume. We are introduced to Red Sonja and learn who she is and why she is. And by the end, she is in full body armor. More importantly, Sonja lives in a complex world where most people have layers of motivation.
In The Art of Blood and Fire, Sonja is on a quest for a dying king. She must locate and deliver six of the finest artisans in the land. During her quest we learn that Sonja is bi or pan sexual, casual about personal hygiene, and not a gourmand. Her adventures have a nice blend of comedy and serious social commentary.
On her quest, Sonja marches through many social issues and slays oppressors, abusers, and the patriarchy with glee. Keep an eye out for when the bikini comes back and the ways that it is used.
I’ve followed Simone for years on Twitter, but for some reason, this is the first of her comics that I have read. What a delight.