Red Sonja: The Black Tower #03

Red Sonja: The Black Tower #03
Frank Tieri (w)
Cezar Razek (a)
November 26, 2014

We return to the adventures of the She-devil with a Sword, the Babe with a Blade with the bust that doesn’t rust (seriously, is rust not an issue with chainmail?).

Amanda Conner continues her duties on covers:

Red Sonja, The Black Tower #03, Tieri & Razek, cover Amanda Conner, Dynamite 2014

Seriously, gold hoop earrings? Like Red Sonja has time for that shit. She’s a barbarian for Tarim’s sake! Let’s take a moment to compare this cover to these:

Of course, these covers are from Gail Simone’s Red Sonja — a different Red Sonja for an arguably different audience. The Black Tower (TBT), as mentioned before, is more in the traditional (read: hetero male) sword and sandal vein — high on action, low on plot and characterization. The nuance that complicates the male gaze inherent to Red Sonja’s more typical representation in many of the covers for Simone’s Red Sonja are absent in the TBT covers. They don’t invite a different interpretation. There’s no pause, no challenge, no potential for reconsidering the representation of the female action hero and how her sexuality is situated within the action genre. Many of the artists commissioned for Simone’s Red Sonja engage the complexities of Red Sonja’s sexualized representation in intriguing and thoughtful ways. This is why I appreciated that Simone did not immediately nix the chainmail bikini when she was brought on to write Red Sonja.

I will be exploring more of this complicated representation in my analysis of Simone’s Red Sonja (which so behind on!), but for now let’s get on with TBT.

Issue #03 picks back up with the the Skeletor wannabes, now referred to as The Soulless, who have taken the wicked life right out of Lur. They are “a constant stream of oppression” ordered and controlled by the deity-like Thraxis (it is currently unclear as to whether or not Thraxis is any way related to the Thraxis demons of the Buffyverse). Even the Sisterhood, who was originally not impacted by The Black Tower’s influence, are now worshipping at the altar of Thraxis.

Thraxis and the Soulless gain more power and begin to expand like American imperialism. They drive around in flying saucer like tanks which are admittedly kind of cool. They even take out ole’ castrated Fengar. So long, dude. You won’t be missed.

Finally, the surrounding kingdoms, fiefdoms, and whatever-doms band together to battle Thraxis and The Soulless. And who is leading them? Why it is our heroine, Red Sonja! On a dragon. Yes, it is as glorious as it sounds. With white bangs to boot. Must be there to give her an appearance of wisdom.

A battle of laser guns and swords ensues. Even Red Sonja has her own laser gun, which I mean…to quote another infamous female action hero:

Buffy on guns

Red Sonja rides towards the tower, but Thraxis sends out his flying machines which shoot down the dragon! I’m so upset! Remember that scene in the last episode of season 4 of Games of Thrones where Dany locks up the dragons? Yeah. The feels.

Once on the ground, Red Sonja realizes that her entire army is dead. She tries her damndest, but she is outnumbered. The Soulless lift her and carry her in a position of crucifixion towards Thraxis. Quick note to comic book artists: When women lay down, their breasts don’t stay in the exact same place. Breasts are not a flotation device. Thnx.

Thraxis is revealed! He shares the bipedal robotic appearance of the Soulless, but also sports a stylish outfit of vivid purple and sky blue. Thraxis demands that Red Sonja hail him. She spits in his face and says “Fuck, Thraxis.” I assume the word “fuck” is used because there’s a black out in the bubble. Isn’t it intriguing (and by intriguing, I mean fucked up) how gratuitous breast shots are not censored, but the word “fuck” is?

Thraxis then gives a little speech about how he will spread the tale of how he killed Red Sonja. Then, he beheads her!

Well, I am definitely intrigued to see how Red Sonja returns. Will it be as a pissed off demonic spirit? Or will magic bring her back to life? Or maybe it will be with SCIENCE — a sort of Frankenstein-ish thing going on. We will soon learn in the conclusion of The Black Tower mini-series next month! Stay tuned!

3 out of 5.

For a review of the first issue in TBT miniseries, click here.

For a review of the second issue, click here.

Ginnis Tonik

Ginnis Tonik

Smashing the patriarchy with glitter, pink lipstick, and cowboy boots. You can follow her on Instagram @ginnistonik