Press materials call Redline “Perfect for fans of Transmetropolitan, Sheriff of Babylon, Preacher and Archer” which immediately got my attention.
Not only is that comparing this series to some of the greatest series ever, but Transmetropolitan is my favorite series of all time. We delve into this new series from Oni Press to come out at the end with an answer to the question, is it good?
The Redline #1 (Oni Press)
So what’s it about? See and read our preview to find out more.
Why does this book matter?
Having read this I can tell you if you like well written and fluid dialogue this is the book for you. The characters talk like any military unit deep in the shit would which gives the science fiction angle a genuine and realistic feel.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
After shaking off the notion this had anything to do with the fantastic anime of the same name, I dug the heck out of this comic from beginning to end. The book opens with some soldiers clearing out some trash in a wartorn area of Mars that looks a lot like present-day Syria. Bombed out buildings surround these somewhat nervous characters, one of which wears a mech-suit, as they go about their day. An explosion hits and soon the comic cuts to the news outlets as they report and a burping Denton Coyle gives his two cents. Neal Holman makes this character instantly likable as he’s a no bullshit type. He’s also pretty damn funny. Throughout the issue we get a bead on his management style and knowledge via dialogue, which helps carry the book forward and keep the pace high.
The pace is one of the most successful aspects of the issue. There’s no heavy exposition dumps, no slog through boring dialogue — it all feels pertinent and interesting. There’s nearly dialogue in every panel, but you won’t notice due to its well written flow. There’s a lot of character work in the dialogue and much of the humor comes through the personality of the characters. I can see why Oni compared this to Transmetropolitan because the dialogue has a measured tone that you won’t want to end.
The art by Clayton McCormack is perfect for this series as it has a gritty and sketchy sort of feel that works well with the rubble filled Martian cities. His ability to capture facial expressions is a key element of making the dialogue work and that includes a funny moment where Coyle is attempting to relieve himself. Overall the style reminds me of Mitch Gerads work on Sheriff of Babylon with some interesting dream like flourishes thrown in for good measure. It’s also appreciated the book is a bit more adult with some full frontal nudity that is pulled off well by McCormack.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The comic might be too obtuse with details for its own good. You gather a general idea of what humans are doing on Mars, but their relationship with the aliens is unclear beyond “they’re enemies.” It doesn’t bother the plot much, though later in the issue an item picked up seems to have some kind of meaning to Coyle that is confusing. More detail will reveal what’s going on in future issues, but I was unclear how to perceive his visions and what the alien item had to do with it.
Is It Good?
Redline #1 is an excellent first issue that captures the characters so realistically you’re basically reading a good TV show. Fans of well-written dialogue must read this. Refreshing and interesting, Redline is a series those who love character dramas must read.