Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Red Wing #1

Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Pitarra

I'm always happy to see the creators I have a lot of esteem for achieve commercial success.  They deserve it, even though in the comics industry, commercial success usually means abandoning creator-owned work in the pursuit of work-for-hire for one of the Big Two. That's why, when a formerly 'independent' writer or artist returns to creator-owned comics, it can be pretty exciting.

Jonathan Hickman, who both wrote and draw the amazing series The Nightly News and Pax Romana, and wrote Transhuman and Red Mass For Mars before joinging Marvel and becoming one of its 'Architects', has returned to Image with The Red Wing.  And it's terrific.

The title refers to a fighter squadron used to fight in a war that is spreading throughout all of time.  The TAC (Temporal Attack Craft) fighter is able to jump through time, and one skirmish we watch moves through a number of different eras before the pilots are lost.  After that we are introduced to Valin Redd and Dominic Dorne, the sons of the first pilots we met.  They are cadets, hoping to fly the Mark II TACs in the same war.  Also, we are introduced to the concept that it is possible for a downed pilot to survive.

As with all of Hickman's independent work, the high concept is everything in this comic.  He's put a lot of thought into the science fiction, but is also interested in exploring how people live and interact with the technology.

Pitarra's art in this book is very nice.  I don't know who has had more say in the development of the general design of the space craft or other technological wonders that we see.  Hickman has a strong design background, and his fingerprints are all over the look and feel of the book (there are a couple of blank splash pages), but I also feel that Pitarra, with whom I am unfamiliar, is no slouch himself.  I hope that the scheduling of this book doesn't hit some of the same snags that Red Mass and Pax Romana suffered, because I am very much looking forward to reading more of this.

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