Traveling merchant Osric hired Sonja to be his bodyguard. On the way to Luxur, Osric pointed out a ruthless rival, and Sonja and her men decided to deal with him — albeit in a light rather than lethal way. That mercy didn’t really cut Sonja any slack. This issue Osric’s nemesis orders the Pharaoh’s men to arrest the She-Devil and her men.
The build-up is what really impressed me about Eric Trautmann’s latest for Red Sonja. I thought that the story would be a straightforward Sonja meets and dazzles the Pharaoh story. Instead, it becomes something different.
As you can see, Sonja hasn’t been left untouched by her defeats. She feels guilt over the loss of her troops, and while not exactly cavalier, she has become even more cautious when the lives of others under her command are at risk. Trautmann furthermore seems to relish the opportunity to display Sonja’s sense of humor.
Everything about that scene is just perfect. The cats look eerie. The Captain appears frightened, and Sonja, while still being Sonja, cracks wise. Meaning, the joke neither deviates from her characterization, nor does her absolutely brilliant expression diminish Giovanni’s and Lucus’ illustration of the warrior maiden. Quite the opposite. While Sonja’s usual demeanor is baleful, this rare comedic display gives her a fuller personality that’s reflected in the art.
The humorous exchange leads to a twist that’s straight out Weird Tales, and you can imagine the thousands of exotic words Robert E. Howard might have used to describe Sonja’s encounter.
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.