Image Comics 2018
Written by Christopher Sebela
Illustrated by Joshua Hixson
Lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Red was shanghaied out of Portland three years ago. No she’s come back on a dead man’s boat to punish the ones who stole her away from her life and her family. After arriving back home to find her mother dead and her sister Katie working for the crimps who stole her, Red exacts revenge on Kurilla and Jones, the two men who dropped her through a trapdoor all those years ago. Wounded and dazed, torn between herself and Jack—the man she’d been living as to keep herself alive—Red’s still got more bodies to gather until she’s whole again.
This issue showcases another aspect of Christopher’s writing that I really appreciate and that's the "down time" writing. While Red had a heck of a time in that bar fight and when everyone left to see the fire was stumbling around with nowhere to go she passes out on the street. This gives Christopher the perfect, hmm planned eh, opportunity to let us see the dreams or nightmares that have plagued her since she was dropped. This gives us, the readers, a chance to truly feel, understand and respect what she has been going through since the ordeal started. I almost wanted to say you can’t buy this kind of characterisation but we did and the yet point behind it still stands.
I think subconsciously Red wanted to end up where she did. Regardless of if she meant to or not the girls who she passed out in front of took her in and have been hiding her from the owner while she spent two days asleep. I like the way this plays out and I know Christopher structured it this way but at this stage of the story it feels right and natural that this should occur now. The way this is structured is sensationally well done and the whole natural ebb & flow of the story and how we see events bleed into one another packs just that right kind of wallop to keep us on our toes, the edge of our seats and dying for more.
Joshua impresses me more and more with each issue of this that comes out. We see more and more varying weights in the linework to create some fabulous subtle detail. That he’s doing the entire interiors is another spectacular aspect and bravo on those wallpaper patterns that is exceptional work. While I am never sure of the fashions in this era the fact that the ladies in this part of town are either servants with those drab lifeless frocks or well ladies who lunch either way the really capture the way of life beautifully. The utilisation of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off such a natural eye for storytelling. The backgrounds are jaw dropping at times and the buildings were such a wow factor moment. The life that Joshua brings to this is simply sublime.
The characterisation here is flawless. From the fighting to maintain control, to the rebellious anger ridden diatribe to the I’m a powerful bitch watch your back through the sheer arrogance that a woman or even a man would rise up against me not to mention everything in between we have it all. I love when strong personalities not clash per se but find each other and can either be beneficial to both or deadly disastrous well it’s just too much fun to see it play out. Christopher has made these characters people, people we can appreciate, recognise and like or detest and that we get to see them continually grow well that’s just a bonus.
This really is a magnificently told story. The right mix of drama, action, intrigue and high stakes fighting to get your life back, see revenge, that continues to thrill, entertain and admire.