With her childhood derailed by trauma, Red Sonja soon grew into the iconic She-Devil with a Sword -- but how did she get to that lofty perch?Luke Lieberman knows the answer, and he's been fleshing out this fierce warriors's formative years over in Queen Sonja, published by Dynamite Entertainment. Starting with last month's Issue #11, Lieberman will take Sonja on a journey from an angry girl struggling with her past to becoming a fiercely independent warrior-queen.
We caught up with Lieberman to talk about Sonja's emotional status, who she might meet along the way, and what it's like for her to make her first kill.
Newsarama: So Luke, just to start off with -- what about Red Sonja is so appealing to you as a character?
Luke Lieberman: Sonja has a lot of dimensions - mercenary, thief, queen, champion each title fits her as easily as her costume. But what makes her endearing to me, is her moxy. I have known a few really ambitious girls in my day and they always have something to prove, because it is still a man's world, and they have to be twice as daring. twice as tough.
Nrama: And maybe to play off that last question a bit, why do you choose this particular moment in time for her?
Lieberman: Because it is before she earned those labels I mentioned earlier. Everyone knows the origin story, then her legend skips right into her 20's. Her formative years are an open question.
Nrama: Tell us a little bit about 14-year-old Red Sonja. Where's her head at, compared to the sword-swinging, chain-mail bikini-wearing She-Devil?
Lieberman: In a words she is raw, her parents murder and the rape are fresh, and she is so small and vulnerable in this violent world. I love that she is not the badass worrier, in fact she gets her ass kicked a good bit, but she is asking for it, she welcomes the violence because she wants to prove she can overcome it.
Nrama: It sounds like Sonja will be doing a lot of traveling, and meeting with a wide variety of different people. Could you tell us about some of the influences or teachers she might meet along the way?
Lieberman: Well she is not exactly a cooperative student because she thinks she knows everything already, she's stubborn and opinionated and out for number 1. Ozzyus teaches her to survive, Jubal teaches her to steal along with a few other life lessons, but her greatest teacher is the boy she just can't seem to defeat in battle…
Nrama: And you couldn't have a story about Queen Sonja without a challenge or an enemy. What are some of the things that Sonja has to take on? Is it more of an external threat, or a lesson she needs to learn within?
Lieberman: Bit of both, there is definitely a some villains in the piece, but trouble does not find Sonja, she finds it. Young Sonja has a habit of tempting fate, it leads her into mistakes. She starts out rejecting the destiny the goddess promised her, only to learn exactly why it is his destiny.
Nrama: You're working with Mel Rubi on this book. What's Mel's style like? What does he bring to the table with all this?
Lieberman: Mel was our first Sonja artist, and I have loves his style since I first laid eyes on it. It is very fluid, perfect for fantasy, I can't imagine him drawing something mundane, he would not know what to do with it.
Nrama: Finally, for those who still aren't certain about jumping onto this arc of Red Sonja, what would you tell them to bring them on board? Any moments you're excited about that you could tease?
Lieberman: The first time Sonja picks up a sword, the first time she kills someone, murder does not come naturally to a young girl, even a young Sonja, she struggles with it. That said she struggles even more with her feelings for Kain, kind of a big brother type who trains her. This arc jumps back in continuity and really stands alone, you don't have to be current on the series to pick it up, but I think it will be something special for loyal Red Sonja fans as well.