We're trying something a little different here today. We're letting a writer come in and give his own personal story notes on a comic. Dynamite Entertainment has recently let Red Sonja take the crown of her fantastic world, and writer Joshua Ortega is taking the first crack at a "commentary track." So pull out your copy of Queen Sonja #2, pull up a chair, and get some unique insight. Also enjoy some pages from the book if you don't have it already, and click through our gallery on the right for every cover to issues 2, 3, and 4. Take it away, Joshua!
Page 1: After the cliffhanger ending of #1—the reveal that the raiders terrorizing the countryside are actually women—I wanted to jump right into the action, the moment just after last issue ended. Mel Rubi did a great job with this splash, Sonja looks gorgeous and tough all at the same time, and Melea (the blond character) has great body language—she definitely looks intimidated by Sonja…as she should be.
Page 3: Classic Sonja in action here, I definitely like to write her as the ultimate badass. You can’t sneak up on her, she’s always aware, and she’ll make you pay if you cross her. However, she’s a hero, and she won’t kill unnecessarily—and her skills are so good, she can give a serious warning without having to actually cut anyone. Love Sonja’s expression in the last panel too—don’t f*ck with me attitude all the way.
Page 5-7: Montage was the way to go with these pages, we had a lot of backstory to tell with the new Queen Sonja setting, and I wanted to make sure we didn’t take too long to tell it. Mel did a great job here, the pages have an epic feel that really emphasize the scale of Hyrkania and the immense size of the Emoran Empire.
Page 8: My favorite page of the montage sequence, and the introduction of a very cool character, Solas, a silent assassin who will play a major role the series. Mel absolutely knocked the design on Solas out of the park. I gave him limited description, really wanted him to be able to cut loose, and man…did he ever! Now I’m ready to work on a Solas miniseries since he looks so cool (and I do have a cool backstory for him…)
Page 11: A lot of artists have told me that horses are one of the hardest things to draw. Apparently, this is not the case for Mel. He draws awesome horses, and due to the setting, he has to draw a lot of ‘em. I love the coloring on the Paloquine horses too, Simon Bowland really did a cool shade of red.
Page 14: This page emphasizes the insanity of Emperor Cornelius, the leader of the Emoran Empire. He keeps a gimp at all times, runs through them like grapes, then puts them out of their misery…and proceeds to eat their flesh. Let’s hope the leaders of our country aren’t doing this behind closed doors. ;)
Page 17: Good brutal scene here in the second panel, Melea grabs the Emoran assassin’s throat, and literally rips it out. I hadn’t really seen that in a comic before. We always hear “rip his throat out” but don’t ever see it happening. Well, now you have.
Page 18: I love the expression and storytelling on this page, really captures the moment. Not everyone draws faces and expression well, Mel’s one of the best I’ve seen at it.
Page 20: Our first glimpses of an Emoran slave camp, the empire has established hundreds of these all over Hyrkania. They truly are an evil empire, and that’s why Sonja’s taken an interest in them. But wait—Sonja’s captured! Didn’t I say that she couldn’t be snuck up upon…? Let’s see what happens next, shall we?
Page 21: Surprise for the guards, it’s sleepytime. Love how she takes out these guys with just her feet. That’s one badass chick, no doubt.
Page 22: This is where we fully realize that Sonja planned her capture all along. She wanted the Emorans to lead her to the camp so she could see one for herself. Now she’s seen it, and she’s pissed. Melea and her sisters have been fighting against Emora for a while now—and now Sonja’s going to join them. As she says, “The Emoran Empire just gained a most dangerous enemy.” Have they ever…just wait’ll you see what she does to ‘em in the next few issues…