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Review Group Week #283: Red Wing #1

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Eli Katz


Postby Eli Katz » Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:17 pm

Asmodeus Jones wrote:
Plus me, I got cranky at the RG. I'll try to post a review for this and/or Hex later, is there a pick for this week? I haven't read this whole thread.

You cranky? Never.
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Postby superfictious » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:53 pm

I'll have to admit that Hickman is turning a personal fav of mine. I like the abstruse, byzantine, and sometimes irreverent nature of his storytelling. I love his ideas even if at times they remain formless on the page.

And I love time-travel stories.

Red Wing is far from a perfect book. It's old-school sci-fi storytelling, a 50s B-movie given a shiny veneer. But for me, it works. The rules are simple and laid out on the pages: Time is not linear...there is no paradox. The ideas presented are nice, but even I can't give it a pass on the characters. There's nothing there (yet) as far as an intimate connection. By the end I'm sure this will be a grande, sweeping, weird time-crossed father-son tale with the backdrop of temporal war. But for now the two ends of the characters' emotional link are as far away as the years between them. We're not even sure what's being fought yet and why.

The art definitely has a Quitely quality, but nowhere near the storytelling dynamicism. It fails to capture the scope of what Hickman's trying to tell, and at times fluctuates between stylized detail and cartoony. Not bad art, but very uneven.

Story: 6.5
Art: 6
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Staff Writer

Postby SilverPhoenix » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:14 pm

The Red Wing #1


If being an “active” fan of comic books has opened my eyes to anything, it’s the fact that my tastes in comics have changed from my childhood. While still being a fan of Big 2 characters, the all-important reality that most of their higher-profile characters are beholden onto a “Corporately Mandated Status-Quo” is something that I’ve hard time adjusting to, due to how it affects the stories being told. The biggest impact of this sometimes painful adjustment is that it has helped me to open my eyes to stories, characters and concepts that I would’ve never appreciated as a teenager. It is through this new perspective that Jonathan Hickman’s “The Red Wing” became a work of great interest, and only the question of whether this book can deliver on its promise remained. Sadly, the first impression didn’t hook me as I thought it would.


It goes without saying that the special thing that makes “The Red Wing” stand out amongst the crowd is the fact that the story takes place in the confines of an Army-Scale War across time, making use of a very common element in an extremely uncommon way. It especially hits home when you wrap your head around the fact that the only way to truly win a war is to manipulate the losing side into realizing that the culture that led to the conflict was the wrong path to follow, which could easily lead into some of the best mind games ever seen. With such potential, it’s hard to anticipate where this could go wrong and even harder when you realize where it does go wrong.

Despite the high concept there, there are two aspects where I feel the writing falters with characterization being the first area. Daddy Issues (especially with Pilots) have become far too cliché lately and it’s the reason why the main character seems far too trite. If Hickman was going to go this route, then he would’ve been better going with blank slates, because blank slates have a better chance of being developed into refreshing characters in a story like this. That being said, that issue would be a lot more forgivable if it spent more time talking about the more nuanced points it introduced in its introductory pages. Had The Red Wing #1 done so, it would’ve been more than enough to make me (and others) forgive the shortcomings in characterization to see if they would be corrected in future issues. Instead, it just feels like Hickman was trying his hardest to make sure this comic didn’t get the “hipster” label in order to increase sales.


If you tasked me to describe the art in one word, said word would easily be conflicted. Without a shadow of a doubt, there are brilliant moments sprinkled all around this comic as the battle scenes really do give the reader the feeling of watching a fast, frantically dramatic battle unfold. The single spread on Page 7 is a great use of imagery and the ending 2 page spread is just well built up to, helping to ratchet up the suspense of the cliffhanger. Sadly those moments are put together with splashes of complete mediocrity as the character drawings and non-fighting backdrops usually give a feeling of complete disinterest from the artist and the characters themselves. It’s a damn shame that this didn’t get more polish.

My Final 22 Cents:

As a whole “The Red Wing” has the potential to be one of the best mini-series of the year. If written up to its high concept, the plot and story would put it right up there with “The New York Five”, “Cinderella: Fables are Forever” and “Mystery Men” as top contenders for this honor. As it stands right now, while it does have redeeming qualities, those same qualities aren’t enough to save this book. With shallow characterization, disinterested art and just a plain dumbed-down feeling, “The Red Wing #1” is a clumsy start to this whole affair.

The Verdict:

Story: 4.5
Art: 7
Accessibility: 8

Final Judgment: 5.5
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Eli Katz


Postby Eli Katz » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:36 pm

John Snow wrote:
I stopped reading after this line.

When you watch an episode of Star Trek do you complain that it's not The Wire?

When I watch an episode of Star Trek, I see fully developed characters engaging with each other in an interesting plot. Yes, the characters say mumbo-jumbo sci-fi stuff, but they also say normal things. The interactions between Bones, Spock, and Kirk are often filled with personal references and amusing one-liners. They say just enough silly, geeky bullshit to justify the sci-fi setting, but fortunately they say a lot of normal sentences that don't include the words "tricorder" and "warp speed."

Hickman's characters talk like space-age deities, incapable of human emotions. That's because Hickman focuses on concepts -- not plot, but concepts -- and forgets about characterization.
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Garofani Spruzzo

Rain Partier

Postby Garofani Spruzzo » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:11 pm

Short review of Red Wing #1

I had the same take on this several other people did--although it may set up conditions for an interesting time travel story hopefully over the next 3 issues, nothing about issue #1 serves to distinguish it from scads of other similar time travel tales and the main characters still feel underdeveloped if not downright bland and stiff by the end of it.

WTF on the lost fathers theme? Someone needs to ask Hickman what the deal is.

It's not as engaging a first issue as I would have hoped it would be, but there's unlimited room for the story to grow.


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