Following her fight with the demon conqueror Raka (Red Sonja: Birth of the She-Devil), Sonja is now a prisoner. How did she end up in a dungeon facing death? Sonja herself recounts the events that led to her imprisonment. After her fight with Raka, she decided to travel to the Festival of Fire with her friends; hearing about its fun and joyous depravity. While there she was finally enjoying life again. She danced, drank, and got a little naughty. The world wouldn’t let that last though. Just as the weight of the world and it’s evil was lifted off her, it fell back down on her just as hard and she is thrown back into the violence and death that she is so used to. Then she does what she does best and kills.
Luke Lieberman and Walter Geovani continue their work together following the Birth of the She-devil story. This is still a younger Sonja and still in the beginning stages of her legend. Luke and Walter have worked on the Red Sonja property for years at this point and they have a true understanding of her character and the world she exists within. Luke has written Sonja as the established legend she is and with Birth of the She-Devil and now this title, we are seeing him take the character back to her roots. It isn’t as much a retcon as it is an origin for the character he’s been writing for years. Walter continues to bring Sonja to life with his art and it hasn’t really changed much over the years. Despite this being a younger Sonja he doesn’t really change her looks from his previous style of illustrating her. This would’ve been appreciated, but why fix what isn’t broken?
The character of Sonja though is consistent from Birth of the She-Devil introduction as a young adventurer. I could use many words to describe her actions, but I won’t. Sonja is a reckless sword-wielding fighter in this Several moments I found myself wondering why she was doing certain things and then I realized she doesn’t have experience yet. That makes what luke is doing with these younger tales good. She’s different and it’s cool to see a young reckless Sonja throwing herself into the fray.
Thematically speaking, the story is touching on corruption. Mainly, political corruption. A system that’s not working for the people and the people in power are self-serving. This is why I think one of the antagonists looks like a bald trump did the fusion dance with Kenneth Copeland.
This works better as part of the Red Sonja mythos. It’s kind of a good starting point for new readers, but new readers should consider Birth of the She-devil to start with if you enjoy this issue. It requires some previous knowledge to really appreciate who she is in this for the characterization. This is a good start to a new arc though and if you’re familiar with Red Sonja I highly recommend it.