The issue begins on the heels of what must have been a hell of a victory party. Red had herself an orgy (she actually uses the word at one point) and wakes up in the midst of the “morning after.” It looks like it was impressive. Well, she doesn’t wake up, she’s woken up.
There is, indeed, no rest for the wicked. An order of nuns maintains a huge library, and they are in danger from a despotic (and insane, I’d argue) Empress. It starts off as a fairly standard plea for help to a great hero. What makes it different is that Sonja’s background has left her with little liking for books, and she’s utterly unimpressed with the library. In fact, she refuses to help and leaves, haunted by memories of her childhood. It seems that the She-Devil with a Sword hasn’t mastered everything she put her mind to.
There are a few twists and turns, which of course lead up to a fight. Many things don’t go as expected, and Red has a few surprises in store. The last few pages show Red getting a very unusual reward, and the Empress sending more foes after her. This is a set up for issue 18, which, sadly, is Gail’s last issue as writer. Then again, she initially only agreed to do six issues, so I guess I can’t complain too much.
Plot: The set up is standard enough, but the scenes from Sonja’s early days surprised me. It was a nicely done issue. I’ll go 4 out of 5 for plot.
Art: The art here is gorgeous. The fights are well-rendered, Red looks amazing (and not in her traditional chain mail bikini, so I’m not just drooling), and the remnant of the orgy are entertaining. I’ll give the art a 4.5 out of 5.
Positives: It’s well written, high action, and shows some depth to Red’s character. Red’s last scene in the issue is really entertaining. And the art is stunning.
Negatives: As I said, the set up is standard enough, and the Nuns are a bit stereotypical. But those are minor points to a generally great book.
I’ve really enjoyed Gail’s run on Red Sonja. Next issue should be impressive. We’ll see how the new writer goes for if I keep getting the book after that.
Red Sonja #17
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Walter Geovani
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Cover: Jenny Frisson