Red One #2 Review

Written by: Xavier Dorison

Art by: Rachel Dodson/Terry Dodson

Publisher: Image

I thoroughly enjoyed Issue 1 of Red One, and I stand by it as a good read with an awesome premise. However, as time has gone by, I’ve grown somewhat wary about this project as a whole. The, “Russian spy sent to stop American fundamentalism” thing is going to be hard to sell once the initial shock wears off, and Vera as a possible Mary Sue character doesn’t help at all.

I’m not sure if the problem is one of tone or simply poor writing, but Issue 2 of Red One doesn’t quite work. The first issue made some great sociopolitical points, and its portrayal of the religious right and the gay rights movement certainly still apply to our daily lives; however, with that all out in the open, Issue 2 doesn’t do much but react to it.

The result is a handful of mundane fights between Vera and violent homophobes. The setups are all the same (violent homophobe says something like, “You’re ruining America” or “God hates you”), Vera as Red One shows up (as is expected), and Red One wins without any real problems (she even effortlessly takes out a gunman with melee weapons).

Some of these events are played for laughs, but there’s really nothing funny about what’s going on. But more than that, there’s nothing particularly engaging or difficult about a super soldier beating up some politically incorrect thugs. There’s a reason why Batman has to fight the likes of the Joker to work: That’s interesting and challenging. He’d be a rather boring superhero if all he did were beat up KKK members.

It doesn’t help that Vera really does cross the line into Mary Sue this time around. She shows up to a party filled with Hollywood porn stars, and they all immediately want to film movies with her. Directors try to cast her in their next films, and she’s just so sly and coy throughout the whole ordeal. Vera is never out of her element, and she’s always on the winning side of an ass-kicking.

She’s charming sure, but she’s also boring.

When The Carpenter finally shows up and the two fight, the sequence is more cringe-inducing than anything else. The Carpenter’s dialogue is just bad. There’s no subtlety anywhere, and if I’m supposed to laugh at his insults and nonsense, then the writers missed the mark.

But the worst of it all is the ending, which is a massive cliffhanger. As an Issue 2 goes, that’s normally fine, but Issue 3 isn’t going to be out until Spring of 2016. That’s an insane wait for a payoff that no longer seems to be worth the investment.

Were Issue 3 coming out in May, I’d say buy this and enjoy the strange, somewhat clumsy ride it takes you on. There’s certainly fun to be had. But a year-long wait for the next installment is daft, especially given the drop in writing quality.