Review - Red Team Double Tap, Center Mass #1 (@DynamiteComics)

"What the hell are they doing here?"

Life as an NYPD detective can be both exciting and boring depending on the day. What makes things more interesting is when the detectives have plenty of backstory behind them. Red Team Double Tap, Center Mass #1 from Dynamite Comics offers plenty of backstory. The issue is written by Garth Ennis, illustrated by Craig Cermak, colored by Vinicius Andrade and lettered by Rob Steen.

One year after the catastrophic events that ended the first series, Red Team survivors Eddie Mellinger and Trudy Giroux are in the doldrums. Considered a political liability, the two are kept busy on small-time cases by their suspicious NYPD commanders, but a chance encounter in the ghetto gives them a chance to get back in the game. Trouble is, it means going far beyond the law which is what almost got them killed last time around.

The issue's start drops the reader and the duo of Mellinger and Giroux right into the tedium of small cases. Ennis does a fantastic job of making that tedium exciting though, filling the first few pages with plenty of small-talk between Mellinger and Giroux as a way of establishing their personalities for readers. From there, Ennis picks things up quite considerably, offering a relatively small-time bust followed by the chance for a much bigger score. The sequence of events allow Ennis to pace the issue in a way that reflects a slow burn at the beginning and end with a climactic frenzy in the middle for good measure. Mellinger and Giroux are very skilled at their work, but that doesn't stop Ennis from throwing something their way that could really test their mettle.

Accompanying the opening span of conversation between partners is some great panels of them in their car waiting for their suspect. Cermak does a great job of framing their stake-out at the beginning that both establishes the tone and gives more information about the characters. There are a lot of establishing shots that Cermak relies on to give the book a sense of gravitas and each character is clearly defined against the backgrounds. Each panel is also presented in a way that gives the book a cinematic feel and Cermak draws inspiration from countless police dramas that have come before Red Team Double Tap, Center Mass #1. Andrade's colors are bold and rich in a way that embellishes the artwork positively.

Red Team Double Tap, Center Mass #1 is a very strong opening issue in what is clearly going to be a tumultuous story. Mellinger and Giroux are very good at what they do, but it's looking like they might be getting in over their heads. Ennis' script is laid out cleanly and effectively sets the table for the upcoming events. Cermak's illustrations are good for conveying the action and makes the book read as if one's watching a movie. Red Team Double Tap, Center Mass #1 will draw fans of police procedurals where mobsters and New York City are big players.

Red Team Double Tap, Center Mass #1 is in stores July 20.