Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review - Red One #1

"Tell me, Vera. What do you think of 'Batman'?"

As two of the largest and most powerful countries in the world, it really behooves the two of them to get along. If they don't, the world suffers. There's still deep-seeded distrust between the two sides, much of which dates back to shortly after World War II. Russian spies in America makes for interesting entertainment, but few of them have ever been a superhero in America; that is, until Red One #1 from Image Comics came along. The issue is written by Xavier Dodson, illustrated by Terry Dodson, colored by Rachel Dodson and lettered by Clayton Cowles.

What happens when America's greatest a Russian Spy? Soviet Agent Vera Yelnikov is sent to 1977 Los Angeles by the Kremlin to become an American Superhero and spread communist values in the land of Uncle Sam in a funky superhero romp straight out of a Tarantino film.

From the start it's very clear what Red One #1 is going for: a somewhat unconventional superhero story surrounded by camp. Dodson provides a very fast-paced first issue that succeeds in establishing the premise behind the series in a Russian spy sent in as an American superhero. There are some rather amusing references to the two cultures as well sprinkled throughout that play off of each country's stereotypes. Vera is characterized as supremely confident and capable of her mission, which is offered up with little secrecy to the reader. The wild card in the story is a character named Jacky Core, who seems to have her own agenda that strikes fear into Russia and will likely offer an interesting foil to Vera.

The linework in Red One #1 is exceptionally clean and defined, as Dodson handles all aspects of human physiology with relative ease. 1977 Los Angeles looks appropriate and maintains the aura that accompanies both the city and the time, with Dodson paying particular attention to ensuring the city itself and buildings within look real enough. Vera is illustrated largely with an abundance of curves and sex appeal; something even she capitalizes on to get her way. The empty gutters feel like the right choice for Red One #1 as well, contributing to a very clean look and finish. Rachel Dodson's colors are bright and vibrant, effectively capturing the mood of the 1970s and providing a stark contrast against any panel Vera is in.

Red One #1 is a very entertaining book that doesn't skimp on the tongue in cheek approach. It's not that the book is full of jokes, but Vera's approach to her mission (and life in general) is pretty daft in some regards. Dodson personalizes her in a way that gets the reader hooked and doesn't let go, as Vera lives life very fast. Terry and Rachel Dodson's art is very clean and attractive, effectively offering a great look at an interesting place and time. Red One #1 is a pretty enjoyable book that doesn't get bogged down in the politics behind the Cold War.

Red One #1 is in stores today with interiors below.


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