Red Sonja: Vulture’s Circle #2

Nancy A. Collins & Luke Lieberman  (W)
Fritz Casas (A)
Jay Anacleto & Ivan Nunes, Walter Geovani & Alex Guimaraes, and Lucio Parrillo (covers)
Dynamite
February 4, 2015

After The Black Tower (btw,  #4, meh), the Red Sonja love continues with another woman writer at the helm. Nancy Collins, who has written Red Sonja before, is the current writer for the Vampirella ongoing. Luke Lieberman, the dude who actually owns the property rights to Red Sonja, joins her for this anniversary mini celebrating Dynamite’s 10th year publishing the She-Devil with a Sword. The premise: an older (in the 40s to 50s range) and wearier Red Sonja trains and passes her extensive knowledge of the blade onto to eager, young, and female-only students. 

Apparently, Dynamite has a lot more planned for the anniversary celebration of the iconic redheaded sword mistress, which has this Red Sonja fangirl so excited! But on to issue #2. We unfortunately didn’t get an advanced review of the first issue, but I’m pretty excited for Collins writing Red Sonja. She and I have similar reasons for admiring this barbarian babe:

For years, she was one of the very few female characters in comics who took no guff and could throw down with the big boys. – Collins in an interview with Westfield Comics

As for Lieberman, I can’t say. He’s written some of Red Sonja, but I didn’t grow up reading Red Sonja comics. I loved the horrific 1985 movie with Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Red Sonja’s portrayal in comics wasn’t appealing to me as a young girl. After all, I wasn’t the audience they were going after, but I picked her back up when Gail Simone took her on, and my fangurl flame was reignited. Finally, someone with genuine respect and affection for the character, and this shines through in Simone’s writing.

Even as an admitted Red Sonja fangirl, I am not without my criticism. I want a Red Sonja who is an active agent in her own story. I want her to command respect and be respected by those who write and draw her, and those who read her. So far, I think Collins and Lieberman are doing pretty good on that front, so let’s get to it! 

Covers

Well, there’s lots of spread legs. However, there’s an important distinction to be found. In Anacleto’s cover, Red Sonja looms over the body of a felled female soldier. Considering the expression on her face and the fact the soldier is female, the dead woman is probably one of Sonja’s own. Yet, it doesn’t seem necessary for her to be standing in that position, which seems to be more for the maximum exposure of Red Sonja’s lovely flesh. Now, I do appreciate the muscle definition given to her. She looks more fit and less porny than she is often drawn.

Now let’s turn to Geovani’s cover. We have legs spread, but she is in action in a way that makes sense with her body position. Her sword is held at the ready. You can anticipate the downward swish as she slices and dices the zombie-like creatures. Her facial expression is all ferocity. There’s no time for lascivious lips and come hither eyes.

Geovani is also the artist on Simone’s Red Sonja, and he draws her powerful–a warrior without the superfluous additions of jewelry and makeup (unless the script warrants it). When I look at Geovani’s depiction of Red Sonja, I feel his respect for the character. That’s what I want to see more of.

As for the Parrillo cover, it’s not worth mentioning. Moving on.

Overview 

Magical forces have released demi-god Sutekh, son of the evil serpent god Set. Sutekh’s goal is generally hell on Earth, enslaving mankind, the usual kind of stuff that demon gods are into. After facing off with Sutekh and his armies in #1, Red Sonja, her team of mercenaries in training, and the renegade priest Sefkh have returned to their school. Sutekh has set his “eaters of the dead” loose on Red Sonja’s school. As zombie-esque monsters, they prove difficult to kill. While Red Sonja’s pupils fight valiantly, particularly her star pupils Xoana and Lyla, Red Sonja winds up doing battle with some of the bigger baddies including a giant worm-beast thing. The question still looms – will Red Sonja don the chainmail bikini and come out of retirement? (If she does, gravity better have at least done a little bit of a number on her ample breasts – she hasn’t had much support over the years with that top, ya know.)

Thus far, I am intrigued. Backstory is also provided on Yusuf – Red Sonja’s lover. He is a healer and doctors the nagging injuries that continue to plague Red Sonja after years of mercenary work. The tone of their relationship generally seems to be one of steadiness and maturity; a quiet background note in an otherwise fantastical setting.

Additionally, Casas draws Red Sonja older in the face, with lines. And she’s fully clothed. And, and, and, the most exciting thing–NO BOOB ARMOR! For those of you who don’t know, armor that follows the curve of women’s breasts is actually deadly. The female warriors in training all wear legit armor. So Collins, Lieberman, and Casas, carry on with this in mind: