Because of my timing, this is less of a review and more of a bulletin. As I write this, copies of Red Wing #3 are sitting in finer comic shops today. Some will hopefully have copies of #1 and #2 for you to catch up on. I missed issue one when it first came out. Luckily, Comicopia had copies of issue #1 and #2, and I was so happy to read them at once. I envy the reader who takes my advice and sits down with all three issues this week, hence the relatively spoiler-free summary below.
Jonathan Hickman seemed like a capable writer when I read his Fantastic Four/FF books, but an event book with another to-be-retconned character death story made for a poor forum to judge his work and skils. The Red Wing, a limited series from Image Comics now three-fourths done, brings puts all his skills to the test, and I rank him very highly amongst the newest breakout writers.
Initially a story set in the future, The Red Wing depicts future armies literally and figuratively fighting through time, crossing layers of history during battles. One of the main characters was lost somewhere in time and left for dead while his son grows up to assume his father’s place as a time- jumping fighter pilot. The conventional sci-fi adventure plot lines are laid out and then manipulated much like the timestream both sides fight through. The concept of children succeeding parents and the inheriting of futures is played with very cleverly, never losing sight of the basic adventure story and, with issue #2, leading to the first genuine plot twist I’ve read in comics for some time that actually surprised me.
Credit also has to go to Nick Pittarra, who along with colorist Rachelle Rosenberg has helped to create some of the best eye-popping visuals in comics since John Cassaday and Laura Martin on the earlier half of Planetary. It’s no small feat that they’ve created such a believable world from scratch using such a cinematic style for three issues.
Issue #3 was equally high-paced but less surprising, given that it was juggling two plotlines almost fully realized and ready to converge in issue #4. For the first time in the land of mainstream comics, the expectation I have for a storyline is actually laced with suspense. I highly recommend you jump on the ship if you can and give Hickman’s current independent work a well-deserved look.