Review: The Red Wing #1 (of 4)

Two years ago, I’d never even heard of Jonathan Hickman, but now he’s unavoidable, creating and contributing to some of my favorite Marvel and Image titles.  He’s an immensely talented creator, and with books like The Nightly News and Secret Warriors, he’s joined the short list of creators whose work I’ll check out based almost exclusively on his name.  The most recent such title?  The Red Wing, a sci-fi time-travel war story with a somewhat retro aesthetic about a man lost in time and a son who set out to find him.  Hickman provides a lot of hooks but little idea of what shape the story to come will take.

Nick Pitarra and Rachelle Rosenberg turn in solid work, from the excellently designed Red Wings and aliens to the massive sci-fi structures that inhabit the world, though they slip up a little when it comes to their characters, many of whom look realistically bland and slightly lumpy.  Despite that, however, they appear to be a good working team – the character designs are distinct without behind extreme, and the ship designs are evocative and fun, relics of sci-fi from the days of yore.

From the striking, eye-catching cover to the not-entirely-explained background, The Red Wing #1 radiates promise but provides only potential, largely unfulfilled.  But the potential is undeniably there.  This isn’t Hickman’s most stirring opening issue, but it is among his conceptually most interesting.   The Red Wing‘s opening issue sets up a lot of potential conflicts, something that could be problematic in a four-issue mini-series, but Hickman has earned the benefit of the doubt.  And it helps that this issue was pretty damn fun to read.

Grade: B+

- Cal Cleary

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