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ADVANCE TAG-TEAM REVIEW: The Red Wing #2

A comic review article by: Danny Djeljosevic, Nick Hanover
ADVANCE REVIEW! The Red Wing #2 will come out on August 10, 2011.

Nick: So, let's start this off with some helmet talk, since you're such a fan of headgear.

Danny: The biggest revelation in this issue involves the removal of a helmet, for one thing.

Nick: There's also a virtual reality/simulation scene that I quite enjoyed despite normally hating those kinds of things. I thought the simulation here was actually pretty useful because it served to give some insight on the technology in The Red Wing rather than just acting as a fake-out.

Danny: Exactly -- in addition to being a fairly common trope (The botched training simulation! "You think this is a game, son?!") we learn along with these characters what kind of weapons the time pilots are working with.



Nick: I'm quite enjoying how quickly things move in this series too. Instead of being stuck watching these kids go through basic training for eons, the action gets started pretty much immediately. Hickman seems to have taken the right cues from Battlestar Galactica in that regard and it makes sense from a storytelling perspective given the stakes that were illustrated in the first issue. I mean, we're dealing with a conflict where our past is literally being erased here, so it wouldn't do to move things along at a slow pace.

Danny: You'd think the cadet scenes would hold everything up, but Hickman balances it out by moving forward the plot with the timelost dad.

Nick: As much as I like the concept of that part of the plot and applaud Hickman for not doing that whole learned folks versus savages bullshit, the style kind of irked me. It reminded me of the mixed media stuff in Infinite Vacation, though if I remember correctly you liked that section in that series.

Danny: The photography sections in Infinite Vacation come off as a bit cheesy, but I think that as the point -- to give it an infomercial feel. I don't think the storybooky quality of Red Wing's post-credits pages felt that disruptive, personally.




Nick: My main issues are admittedly kind of superficial. For starters, I just hated the font they used. It didn't look clean enough to me, it looked like something you'd pull from a generic word processor. The layout bugged me too, it didn't feel very artistic, just kind of no-nonsense and dull. But the biggest issue for me was the way the journal entries moved in a nonsensical way. It jumped ahead almost 400 days, then 3 days, then 1. And in those last few pages, we're getting a regular conversation spread out amongst several days.

Although I will say reading it digitally as an advance PDF was pretty fun because I got to make my own motion comic by hitting the left and right keys over and over.

Danny: ...I'm not gonna lie, I was doing that just now.

Nick: See? But even with those complaints, it did give us a lot of information very quickly and it didn't distract from the main story for very long.

Danny: It's clear that Hickman knows this was going to be talking heads pages, so he just decided to present it in the most unconventional (for a comic) way -- with PROSE OMG.

Nick: Nick Pitarra's subtle way of showing the passing of time through the postures were a nice touch as well, and the slight decay in Rachelle Rosenberg's colors was a great cinematic touch. But Red Wing's best moments to me come from its juxtapositions of future tech and the distant past, like the abduction we get in this issue.



Danny: I think that's the ultimate fulfillment of this book's premise -- the futuristic spaceships in anachronistic landscapes, what with the ancient people looking up at these damn-near-supernatural things that just don't belong in their era.

Nick: You have to love a concept that's as simple yet as wide open as that. Future beings, fighting over our present, which is their past. Without ruining it, what did you think of the big reveal in this issue?

Danny: Such a great reveal. Not just because it's surprising, but because it gives the premise a whole new dimension. It's not just a simple "us versus them" situation.

Nick: I loved it for the same reasons and because of how much it forces rereads. It's an idea that makes you go back and look for more clues. And we're only on issue 2! The reveal also gives Pitarra a chance to do some fun costume designs as we finally get a glimpse at the "enemy."



Danny: I love their costumes. They're just so thorny and buggy.

Nick: It's very exoskeletony. It wouldn't be out of place in Annihilation. There's also a nice contrast between that creepy crawly aesthetic and the super clean look our heroes sport, as well as their attempts at sustainability with the freaking apple orchard in the ship.

Danny: It only took one issue for this book to become essential reading, so now I'm just really excited to see where it goes.



Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book creator, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no follow-up questions), film/music critic for Spectrum Culture and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter as @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat. Read his newest comic, "Sgt. Death and his Metachromatic Men," over at Champion City Comics.



When he's not writing about the cape and spandex set, Nick Hanover is a book, film and music critic for Spectrum Culture and a staff writer for No Tofu Magazine. He also translates for "Partytime" Lukash's Panel Panopticon.

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