Red Sonja finds herself still among the caravan of merchants, introduced last issue, and there's a bit of a “price war” going on.
However, Sonja won't be dealing with any disciples of scorpion gods. This issue is a little tamer than most, but it still bears the exoticism of a Robert E. Howard story.
Head merchant Osric identifies his competition. The dreaded Kedzel will resort to anything to get his wares to the market before the competition. So Sonja and her allies decide to preclude any shenanigans.
If you hadn't noticed by the artwork, Walter Geovani and colorist Adriano Lucus demonstrate a knack for presenting the beautiful Sonja almost at rest. These early scenes amount to casual moments where Sonja is just riding along, trying to ignore the heat, and they're rendered in such a natural way that you can almost forget how extraordinary they really are. I'm an artist myself, and I can testify. Artists like to depict action more than just a girl moseying her horse along the sand dunes. These scenes are done with such care. The same amount of attention that an artist would give to a big battle scene. They don't last long though.
This is merely one of many examples that exhibit the art team's phenomenal talents, but it's not just the art that earns the stars.
Eric Trautmann's narrative and the instillment of fun to the dialogue further evinces the quality of this quieter issue. Sonja before this wandering arc suffered something fierce, and that weight fell heavily on her shoulders throughout the previous issues. In this story, she lightens up considerably, to such a point that she decides that nobody needs to die.
It's a wonderful little distinction that further builds on Sonja's sense of honor as well as her status as a warrior. Her alleviating mood is infectious, and you genuinely like this version of Sonja as an individual.
Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups, where he reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.