Red5 Comics 2021
Written by Joshua Starnes
Illustrated by Raymond Estrada
Coloured by Steven Dellasalla
Lettered by Dave Lanphear
When the world’s leading expert on The Box goes missing, Leo is the natural top suspect. Facing another plot to steal his partner and ruin his life Leo turned the tables on his pursuers... and came face to face with a very old man who could make The Box do whatever we wanted, including killing a man ...
I was hooked on this with the first issue and this one just amps up the story exponentially and I gotta say I’m way past hooked on this. How Joshua manages to write this and how he creates the scenarios where Leo uses the box or the box uses Leo to get away, escape from capture or just in general really shows a mad genius in action because I’m not sure i’d be able to keep up with how many different uses there are, could be and have been. Okay I am thoroughly engaged and I think of situations that aren’t on the page and we all know how I feel about that, it’s wonderful and it goes to show just how skilled, talented and exciting a writer Joshua is to pull in this deep so quickly.
I am such a massive fan of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exquisitely. The character development that we see through the narration, the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter. This does a magnificent job in bringing their personalities to the forefront. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages revealing more of the story we’re really treated to some of the most exciting storytelling.
I am thrilled by the way this is being structured and how the layers continue to emerge, grow, evolve and strengthen. What these layers do so expertly is open up avenues to be explored and while some will and others won't, what they all do is add this delicious depth, dimension and complexity to the story. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is immaculately achieved.
There is a very distinct style to the interiors that seems to match the story perfectly and It really creates the mood, tone and feel for every given moment that we see beautifully. The linework is fantastic and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the detail within the work is fabulous to see. There is a pretty fair balance of backgrounds and blank spaces which does enhance and expand the moments and then there’s how they work within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows a remarkably talented eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work show a great eye for how colour works and a stellar understanding of how to maximise their effects.
I think this series is amazing and it’s got this bloody marvellous flow to the sequence of events as they unfold where you can’t exactly predict what is going to happen. When you think one thing is happening and another beats that to the punch it’s crazy. It keeps you on your toes and makes you pay attention to what’s happening. There is some incredibly smart, intelligent writing and solid, interesting characterisation happening here that’s wrapped up in these perfectly suited interiors bringing it all to life.