I now hate Eric Trautmann. I hate him for being the new writer on Red Sonja from Dynamite. Here’s the thing, in the character’s over thirty-five year off and on comic book history, I’ve never once felt the need to pick up a single issue and read her exploits (emphasis on exploit). I always thought the idea of a warrior woman clad only in a chainmail bikini fighting seasoned, armored warriors and barbarians just a little too ridiculous, pulp novel precedence be damned. Mind you, avoiding the character was not any sort of moral imperative, so when one of my favorite writers of the last half decade took over Dynamite’s Red Sonja I looked forward to being able to say I at least tried the book once. Apparently, the Internet has been torn asunder due to the fact that Trautmann has changed the costume of the titular character, given her a sensible full, long-sleeved chainmail shirt, something that Barry Smith did back in her first appearance in 1973, by the way. But that isn’t why I hate Trautmann, rather I applaud him for that. No, my new found vehemence towards the writer is because he’s made me like the character and wrote an excellent first issue. With all due respect to Hyborian Age comics grandmaster, and Red Sonja creator, Roy Thomas, Trautmann may just be directly channeling the spirit of Robert E. Howard. Seriously, get him on a Conan or Kull book and I’m in.
All well intended humor aside, Trautmann has this book nailed. From pacing to snappy dialogue to engaging story it is a terrific read that leaves you anticipating the next issue, as all great comics should. Fortunately, Dynamite paired him up with a competent artist. Walter Geovani gets the job done. He keeps the characters distinct and you can tell what is going on in each panel. Adriano Lucas’ colors and Troy Peteri’s lettering bring the whole thing together into a nice little pulpy sword and hint-of-sorcery package that is fun to read. It isn’t super-heroes, but it is most definitely a comic book of the finest Robert E. Howard tradition and I wish the next issue would hurry up and arrive. I don’t really hate Eric Trautmann and neither should you. By remaining true to the essence of the character while raising her above her scantily-clad two dimensional status he makes Red Sonja a viable and relevant book in a market where each new comic seems to try to out-gore and out-sex the previous one. Yeah, I’m old, but what’s wrong with expecting actual story to go along with the pretty pictures for my four bucks? Red Sonja has all the right things in all the right places and is worth being added to your monthly subscription list.