Red City #1 (Image)

red-city-1-00
CREDIT: Image Comics

Rating: 3/5 – A Bit Too Much Story to Fit Comfortably in This Debut Issue.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

Red City is ambitious in its set up and as I read it I could tell that there was a lot here. I got the sense that an immense amount of material is driving the settings and characters involved. The world that writer Daniel Corey has created combines an investigation into a missing person in the midst of a galactic civil war as he tries to combine the noir and science fiction genres into one. Unfortunately, trying to put so much into this first issue made it feel to me as though nothing stood out from the information overload.

We meet main character Cal Tamage in the opening pages of this first issue in a jail cell on board a federal star cruiser. We come to understand that as he’s an NSS (New Solar System) officer that was in charge of security on a federal ship, but that he was also participating in some things that weren’t on the up and up.  Tamage comes across as being a heroic and selfless, yet reckless character, while harboring a dislike for authority. This is a type of character I’ve seen plenty of times before, so unfortunately he comes off a bit bland. There’s an opportunity for his sense of humor to set him apart, but in this first issue it’s not enough.

The art by Mark Dos Santos is a nice fit for this story as his art matches the lighter tone of the writing. He has a more cartoony look to his work, while using heavy shadows and blacks. At times that clean look was too neat for the sci-fi setting that could have benefited from a bit of grit and dirt, but it still works. His aliens and human characters all have unique looks, and the designs stood out.

There’s quite a bit of story in this first issue with the civil war that’s going on all around Cal. We’re introduced to Mercurians, Neptunians, and Venusians.  It just feels as though there’s too much. It’s easy enough to understand, but because there are so many concepts and races introduced, none of them felt all that special or deep. Corey introduces some neat ideas, but with so much going on, it’s tough to see it all coming together in a way that won’t feel rushed, but time will have to tell.  It remains to be seen if this series can take its time to touch on all the potential story ideas introduced, but as far as first issues go, it all felt a bit too generic.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
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