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Garth Ennis' Red Team #1 Advanced Review

By Andy Frisk
February 1, 2013 - 23:46

Detective Mellinger of Red Team, an elite Major Crimes unit of the NYPD, knows that what he and his team did was wrong. Murdering a vicious low life like the drug dealing criminal Clinton Days isn't what Mellinger's team set out to do, but with Days consistently beating his charges and continuing to get away with murder...literally...Red Team decided to do what it took to get him off the streets, permanently. The only problem was that there was that they never could have dreamed it would be so easy...

Garth Ennis is a master of astute characterization, storytelling, and biting social commentary and Red Team is the perfect book to launch Dynamite Entertainment's new line of crime books. From the very first page of Red Team #1 "The First Timers," Ennis sets up a morally complicated and powerfully gripping crime drama where the line between justice and vigilantism is a fine one and, as Mellinger discovers, sometimes, when the best laid plans DO NOT go astray, that is the absolute worst thing that can happen to a man and his conscience. Red Team #1 is much more of a visual treat than one might be inclined to expect.

Bringing to eye catching life a densely plotted crime story in sequential art form is not as easy as it might at first appear. Mainstream comics rely upon huge superhuman fisticuffs and otherworldly adventures to dazzle the eyes and grab a reader's attention visually. Craig Cernack has none of the above to work with, and in fact there is very little action in Red Team #1. Instead, there are plenty of scenes of characters sitting around and talking, which are not necessarily the most exiting thing to see. Cernack manages to play with perspective and camera (panel) angles masterfully though. He creates tension and understated action between the characters much like Tarantino did in Reservoir Dogs, where most of the time the main characters sat around and talked.

Some of Garth Ennis' works are really out there, graphically violent, and sometimes petulantly vitrolic, (all of which can be immensely engaging and cool), but Red Team is Ennis at his most realistic and morally ambiguous best. If Red Team #1 is any indication of the types of works we can expect from Dynamite Entertainment's crime line, they can't publish them fast enough.


Rating: 10 /10

Last Updated: May 19, 2020 - 12:25

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