Review - Dark Corridor #1 (@ImageComics)

"I was makin' myself a little night cap when he showed up..."

Settling in for the evening is relaxing and comforting. Getting comfortable, relaxing for the evening, opening the door to a dog and following it to a crime scene. Par for the course in Red City in Dark Corridor #1 from Image Comics. The issue is written and illustrated by Rich Tommaso.

The fictional coastal city of Red City is one controlled by mobsters who--after decades of wielding power--are silently being picked off one-by-one by unidentified female assassins. This leads to a stray dog convincing a group of thieves that a big score awaits.

Red City doesn't shy away from its history as a melting pot of crime; something Tommaso uses effectively as a means of setting the table for the first issue. Pete is characterized as a man who has a sordid past, but at the moment isn't really looking to get into anything criminal. He knows criminals for sure, yet Tommaso allows those interactions and relationships to unfold naturally. Tommaso doesn't force the burgeoning characterizations into a chronological mold; instead, he breaks the story up into bits and pieces so the reader can put things together much like Pete does. Red City seems to trade in bad people and it's something Tommaso certainly doesn't shy away from in his depiction of it.

Most readers will likely be drawn to Tommaso's art before the story. The story is certainly deep and intricate, but the artwork is just so unique that it stands out all on its own in a fascinating way. The newspaper strip style softens the blow of the violence, while still maintaining an ability to demonstrate just why the inhabitants of Red City are generally bad people. It's a visually striking look that harkens back to a different era of comic book illustrating. Tommaso relies on vivid colors that afford the characters a pop, helping them to visually stand out against the backgrounds.

Dark Corridor #1 is about bad people in a bad town. Red City has its share of problems and the denizens of Red City work their way through these problems the best they can, even if it means being on the other side of the law. Tommaso's story leaves plenty of room for some fascinating exploration of what makes bad people good. His art is generally gorgeous and refined, offering up a nostalgic style that's perfectly appropriate for the telling of stories in Red City. Dark Corridor #1 is a throwback to a different era of comics that's a great first issue.

Dark Corridor #1 is in stores now.