A lot of people will know Jonathan Hickman as a significant Marvel writer after he has penned storylines for Secret Warriors (with Brian Bendis) the stunning S.H.I.E.L.D. mini-series and most recently the ongoing Fantastic Four/FF series. In the coming months he will takeover on the Ultimates title too. Fewer readers though will know about his work with Image.
As an independent label, a writer can go in a number of different directions, especially when they are also the creator of a new title. Hickman has given us The Red Wing, a four part miniseries based all across the timeline.
Immediately you are given a lesser used twist on the time travel scenario as Hickman pushes you into the middle of a war. Instead of using the common ploy of having to go back and prevent specific events from happening to "win” the idea that the war is fought across time against an as yet unknown adversary is played out.
As a second interesting element, Hickman doesn’t concentrate on the act of war but the feeling behind it, finally leading to an interesting quote - “Time is not linear, there is no paradox”. In doing so he opens up a wide range of possibilities to use, but also a level of protection as it removes a complete argument that may pick holes in the ensuing story.
After leaving what was our main character in jeopardy the story jumps both into the future and into space. The war still rages on, but the technology has increased meaning that the fight has escalated but continued. The story has a kind of Battlestar Gallactica meets the Matrix whilst passing Star Wars feels which is easy to follow and definitely out of the mainstream, however I do have a concern that because of this easy reading it could also be a little clichéd as well. Even so, at the heart of it all a whole concept is introduced which is designed to settle the story too, that time as a concept is not just a straight line.
I really liked this as an idea but it was brushed over quite quickly for something that is essentially going to be incredibly significant, but I’m equally unsure of how it could have been looked at in further detail.
With further time chasing back and forth Hickman finishes on a cliffhanger made possible by the touches he established earlier on with a stranded pilot in a far off time...
Nick Pitarra has joined forces with Hickman on Red Wing and as another competitor in Comic Book Idol (who then went onto Marvel as well) it’s unsurprising that they have a common grounding. His style is diverse as in the most part it is simply and uncluttered but when required there are entire pages full if fine details and intricate images. This is reserved only for the foreground however leaving either blank canvas or looser less defined shapes as a background to give a feel. It may be a very simple and basic looking approach but what he has managed is to leave it feeling open and spacious without it feeling vacant. There is just enough the right balance of space versus content.
Rachelle Rosenberg has been brought in as the colourist and has worked well in partnership with Pitarra. It would have been very easy to overpower the simplistic approach that has been taken but a very complementary palate has been used meaning for a very good partnership.
Red Wing is a lovely new comic set for a short run. It’s a great example of what a writer can do without having the restraints of a mainline comic brand. It’s open and fresh and worth taking a look at should you find yourself wanting something different and out of the norm yet also with a familiar and friendly feel to it.
Matt Puddy is still hoping that his next leap... will be the leap home.