Redlands #2 Review: Witches With Badges

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Posted September 12, 2017 by Thomas James Juretus in Comic Books

Publisher: Image Comics

Writer & Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire

Artist: Vanesa R. Del Rey

Letterer & production: Clayton Cowles

Release date: September 13, 2017

Redlands takes a time jump with its second issue, still leaving all that business outside the sheriff’s office from the first issue unexplained. The witches Bridget, Ro, and Alice are now detectives in charge of the Redlands, Florida police station. That may be a good thing, since there’s a murderer running loose who has killed five people as the book opens and who fancies himself as a sort of artist. The three check out a crime scene where three naked women are staked out on the ground. The coroner confirms that some sort of old alchemy was used. And then the killer reaches out to Bridget, revealing he knows a secret about the trio.

So, now two issues in, and I’m still not clear on what is going on. To writer Jordie Bellaire’s credit, even though the plot is being maddeningly vague, the mystery presented to us still has my interest. We may still not know much about the three witches, but their distinct personalities are beginning to emerge. Ro is most clearly the one in charge, Bridget the more “rogue cop” type, and Alice seems to be on the low end of the totem pole, though it’s revealed she has the gift for making people open up and talk. She’s also not above dealing strongly with the town’s creepier citizens, like a school principal making very inappropriate remarks to a young female student awaiting escort home as a curfew due to the murders is in place. Much like the sheriff in the first issue, the principal seems to embody a male population rife with misogyny and old stereotypes. You get a sense that the town of Redlands was long ruled by the “good ol’ boys club”, one that the witches are in the process of dismantling.

This second issue isn’t as big on bloody action as the first, and that’s reflected in Vanesa R. Del Rey’s artwork. Her lines are cleaner, and environments have more detail, with only a few panels having that more sketchbook art style. Bellaire’s coloring is again excellent, using a richer color palette this time around beyond just reds and blacks. The variation in both the art work and colors used give this book a better flow, letting you slow down to take scenes in instead of the feeling you being hurled along. The art does give the book its own distinctive feel, however, making it standout from other, similarly themed, comics.

While the art and story have slowed down to give us a more structured book, there are still a few issues. A ritual scene feels more forced in than naturally inserted. Details are being doled out sparsely, leaving plenty of questions. Who is Zuzu, and what is his connection to the trio? What’s with the killer fancying himself to be an artist, and what does he have against the trio? And, what about the witches themselves? Are they truly good guys to be rooted for, or do they have some other, darker agenda? It’s these questions, while possibly being off-putting to some readers, will have returning for the next issue. Redlands may not be the best book hitting the stands, but its first two issues have both been solid and consistent, with a mystery that has me curious. It’s that mystery that makes this book worth checking out, and has me hopeful the pay-off will all be worth it in the end.



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Final Score

8/10

    Pros

    • Great coloring
    • Interesting mystery
    • Good characters

    Cons

    • Overall plot still very vague



    About the Author

    Thomas James Juretus