After speaking with the creative team, it’s pretty clear this is a series to watch. The concept is good, the creators behind it passionate, and the characters in the story vividly real. We delve into issue #2 to answer the question, is it good?
Redline #2 (Oni Press)
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
It’s Mars, and it’s Mardi Gras, and it is blowing up. Literally. (Again.) Coyle and his team investigate a suicide bombing outside the gates of Vantage Solutions, Inc., a crime that may possibly/probably have ties to Coyle’s past. Guest starring a giant wiener.
Why does this book matter?
First and foremost, this series feels like a TV show in its realism and solid dialogue. The main characters are soldiers who have been in the shit so long they’re different men. A blown up body is nothing to freak out about when you’re so far from Earth. This story takes place on Mars and very well may be added to the pantheon of great Mars stories.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
A story within a story.
This issue opens with a terrorist attack on a major COO of a corporation that you know is up to no good on Mars. That sets in motion a mystery our main characters aim to solve which will undoubtedly lead down shady avenues. They go down one such avenue in this issue, as the characters get a lead on a person who was at the attack who also happens to work at a strip club. Neal Holman writes another good issue as it’s well plotted and never wastes a panel. Interweaving the protagonist Coyle’s past–as well as a possible drug problem–into the case allows good character work to take place while never slowing down the plot.
The art is good at capturing the gritty nature of the setting and the characters too. It’s worth noting the comic is pretty damn funny, and that’s partly due to Clayton McCormack’s artwork. If you have plans not to see a severed penis I’d steer clear of this issue; McCormack draws one here in vivid detail. Said penis ends up being the butt end of a few jokes that work well, and that humor works in part due to McCormack’s ability to draw natural expressions and body language. The colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick maintain a gritty earth tone feel for the book that keeps the narrative feeling grounded.
Ultimately the grounded nature of the story makes the drama feel real and the characters genuine. They may be on Mars and there may be aliens in the hills, but it never feels like science fiction. It instead feels like a drama first, which should keep fans of great character work coming back for more.
Men can be such dogs.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Coyle’s past is quite a mystery, so much so that it’s somewhat frustrating how little we get in regards to explanations. As far as what we’ve learned by issue #2, I suspect he did something shady, but what it was, why he did what is shown in this issue, and why we should care remain to be seen. I’m sure answers will come, but at this juncture I’m not sure the reader’s investment is quite there yet.
Is It Good?
This is an excellent second issue in a character drama I can’t get enough of. Though a science fiction tale, Redline is grounded with genuine characters and a gritty, irresistible story.