Red Sonja has been re-imagined in steampunk alternate universe as a pirate captain. In this series, she has been whisked along and has become embroiled in mystery and adventure. It doesn’t seem to take much encouragement to string along as she races off to rescue a scientist.
Only their rescue mission abruptly becomes a hostage situation. Both the women are now prisoners on the submarine (What happened to Red Sonja’s crew? Did they just shrug and cast off elsewhere?). While Elizabeth disappears, Red Sonja is shackled as rape threats happen.
Now rape is a sensitive issue for many, including myself. Rape acts being used as a story device can be very,very tricky even when well done. This was not well done. This was over the top, villainy threats set in a Victorian environment. It was really over the top.
This really, really bothers me. Steampunk is not just an aesthetic. It’s the idea of taking Victorian England and imposing anachronistic elements. Forgot that we have an iconic red-haired comic book character. We have here a female pirate captain in Victorian England. To gain the respect and command of a pirate ship would require strength, perseverance, or brute strength. All of which I would associate with Red Sonja. So how, how, could she have just been taken on board? She and Elizabeth were floating in the Ocean and in the next moment, they’re shackled.
The rape threat that Victor made was very faint and implied but it was the lack of reaction to it from Red Sonja that bothered me. She wasn’t beaten or tired, she could have said something. She just glared. The only reason why this could have gone on was because she’s trapped in a submarine with full of a reanimated corpses and a mad scientist. She has no way to communicate to her crew and she has no idea how deep they have submerged. Her silence and willingly to listen, I viewed as trying to gain her bearings.
To further annoy the bejessus out of me, Elizabeth is presented back to the reader as a mindless zombie. All of her years of running and outsmarting the man, and she becomes this. Since whatever happened to her happened off-panel, I can only assume she may have fought.
Once again, the amazing action packed cover fails to reflect the story within the comic. The cover is a complete bait.
I suppose it had to get ugly at some point. I just didn’t think that the story AND the art inside the comic would get ugly. There are panels where hands are grossly exaggerated. There is also a particular series of panel with dead body parts. The ick factor has been upped. This was a complete disappointment for this issue. I would not be surprised if this was the issue where people stopped following this series. Other than her red hair and chain mail bikini top, how is this Red Sonja? Gail Simone did a wonderful version of her and really set the bar on her character. This comic does not make it to that bar.
It will take a fantastic issue #4 to flip my disappointment around. Until then, Legenderry:Red Sonja #3 is available at your local comic book retailer.