Trade paperback Tuesday is an initiative of Previews World, a comics and associated paraphernalia magazine/catalog/online news resource which promotes the hottest trade paperbacks newly collected and published in the comic book industry. I'm borrowing the theme to focus on regular reviews of my favorite trades and/or comic story arcs.
Title: RED CITY
Writer: Daniel Corey
Artist: Mark Dos Santos (#1-2), Anthony Diecidue (#3-4)
Contains: Red City #1-4
In the wake of a system-wide civil war, hard-nosed interplanetary investigator Cal Talmage is given a simple mission to find a missing ambassador s daughter in Mars Central, aka RED CITY. The routine case quickly complicates as Cal finds himself in the midst of rival alien mobs, street vendettas and political conspiracies. He struggles with personal demons as he discovers that another war is brewing, and the lives of an entire race hang in the balance.
(review of collected issues) RED CITY is a cool concept let down by the complexity of characters and conflicting plot threads all vying for a slice of the readers attention. There is just too much going on too soon with the chief pitfall of RED CITY being the decision to cram, what actually is, a very interesting story into a 4 issue arc.
The plot revolves around Cal Talmage, a former Mars PD Officer and decorated war veteran who has fallen from grace and is now seen as an expendable solution to a budding political problem between the Mercurians and the Neptunians. He's tasked with tracking down Talia Jalen, missing daughter of Ambassador Jalen and pivotal spokesperson for the Mercury / Neptune peace treaty. Sound the dime-store PI routine.
Cal's diagonal is pure pulp and Angel, his sexy sidekick is the femme fatale stereotype true to form in pulp/PI novels. The chemistry between the two didn't leap off the page despite some good but fleeting moments. As for the broader cast - each individual issue provided a run down of the key players which certainly helped but it was still too difficult to get into a story where there are many rival factions both political and military as well as underworld organisations all vying for the readers attention in a 4 issue story arc. Again - a great premise, just executed too quickly.
The art from #1 and #2 are great and compliment the story nicely. Cal, Angel and the supporting cast are drawn well while the backgrounds are detailed and make the reader feel like they are on another planet. Anthony Diecidue tool over for #3 and #4 and it just didn't work. Each panel lacked background, preferring to focus on the character which is okay but too big a switch from the opening 2 issues.
I've read RED CITY a couple of times now because I like where writer Daniel Corey was going with this, unfortunately the compressed storytelling and almost too easy path to Talia let down what could've been a very good read.