Red Sonja/Tarzan #1
Written by: Gail Simone
Art by: Walter Geovani
Cover Artist by: Adam Hughes
Variant Cover by: Jae Lee, June Chung, Aaron Lopresti, Walter Geovani, and Dee Cunniffe
Colors by: Adriano Augusto
Letters by: Simon Bowland
The She-Devil with a Sword comes face to face with the King of the Jungle.
What Just Happened:
We open in 1921 where the instantly hate-able Eson Duul hunts the last Tasmanian tiger. His servant, Teff, remarks that he hunts to extinction so no one else will have a claim after him. He also states he does the same with women: “And when he wants a woman, he makes certain no other hunter will follow his trail to her bed.”
We then move to Hyrkania where we see a haggard and bloody Sonja staggering into a town. After she punches out a mouthy tourist, she orders a drink and uses that and a red-hot dagger to clean and cauterize her own wound.
In 1922, John Clayton (who is also known as Lord Greystoke and, of course, Tarzan) arrives at the home of Eson Duul in order to halt Duul’s attempt to purchase the ancestral lands of a friend. Duul takes John through his collection of “exotic” African animals. John is horrified with what he sees, reacts violently, and enlists the help of a barrister.
Sonja visits The Traveler at The Tower of Everywhen and reveals that she was challenged by Eson Duul’s servant, Teff. Sonja, drunk and injured, is still more than Teff can take. However, Duul and his other servant, Carl, are still able to disable Sonja through other means. Sonja reveals her sword was taken and the braid was cut from her hair. She then asks The Traveler if she can help her follow Duul from Hyrkania.
At Greystoke Manor, John receives heartbreaking “deliveries” from Duul. John is finally pushed over the edge and lets out the trademark cry of “Kreegah Bundolo!” Before he can go on the rampage, he is approached by Sonja who discloses something that makes Duul even more dangerous.
What Mary Has to Say:
In true Simone style, for an introduction, there is a lack of exposition in favor of a more character-driven narrative. There is a fabulous balance between Sonja and Tarzan. One doesn’t outshine the other, which really helps the narrative flow smoothly and as a result, the jumps in “dimensions” aren’t derailing. Sonja is as surly and sexy as she always is and we’re shown a tempered and more diplomatic Tarzan, which is always interesting.
Walter is a master, especially with facial expressions. Every emotional shift, no matter how subtle is captured perfectly here. A team up with Sonja and Tarzan is going to be highly expressive and heavy with acrobatics and melee fighting and Walter Geovani is the one person I trust to do this right.
I cannot sing the praises of Adriano Augusto’s colors enough. There’s fabulous blending and fantastic attention to detail on every page.