In an industry primarily dominated by over-the-top heroes whose decades of history now are caught up in constant crossovers or sweeping year long events, how can a reboot of an oft overlooked character in the flagging sword and sorcery genre like Red Sonja hope to compete?
The answer is, you don’t.
Rather, you do the exact opposite, and you do it so well that everyone who’s sick of over-the-top heroes, constant crossovers and sweeping year-long events feels so at home that they instantly add it to their pull list (guilty).
You start with small personal struggles and build big. You (of course) start with solid art and an innovative layout. You attach a writer like Gail Simone whose fan base will give a new book a chance for the writer on it as much as the character within. You let her inject humor and even poke fun at some of the tropes people have scoffed at in the past. I got as much joy from the line “Oh she of the excellent cleavage” as I did from Geoff Johns acknowledging all the fish jokes made at Aquaman’s expense in The Trench. It is so refreshing having a laugh at a costume traditionally labeled, at worst, exploitative and crazy impractical, at best. Add in the string of excellent female cover artists lined up by Simone, and it’s no wonder why she carries the industry weight and fan respect she so richly deserves.
As a fan of Simone’s on Batgirl, I appreciate someone that writes for an audience that enjoys exploring Barbra’s pain over her family or giddiness on a first date as much as, or more so than, seeing her kick in bad guy’s teeth. I appreciate storylines that have weight and finality—rather than baiting the audience one week with something along the lines of Is Catwoman dead? only to explain away in one panel the next month with Nope, it was just Martian Manhunter in drag. When every book is set up just to hook the next without concentrating on the story and characters it plays with, for me, that’s no fun and a waste of money. I have full faith that in Gail’s hands Sonja is going to experience an incredible rebirth; this title which I had never given a second look while perusing the racks each week will become one of my monthly favorites.
Thom Obarski is an editor with writing problems. Also, a podcaster, nerdy comic gamer guy & opinionated consumer with a penchant for geeky fitness involved in a dark and twisted love/hate relationship with pop-culture and run-on sentences. Check him out weekly on Geek Girls, Nerd Boys on Fanboys Inc. When not inside hiding from the sun, you can find him running from zombies, slinging arrows with Hawkeye, sparing with the Cavalier, or target shooting with Deadshot.