They’re all $3.99. None of them are by Warren Ellis or Cully Hamner (though he does do covers). And they all came out in one week. I wouldn’t be surprised if you just missed the four Red one shots, using the characters and likenesses of the upcoming movie rather than the original Wildstorm series. I mean just how good could a Helen Mirren comic book be?
Well pretty damned good actually. The trick is to make her younger and take her clothes off apparently. Oh, I mean it’s all fairly obvious tropes and once you know that the “people you love die and you have to be okay with that, indeed you may have to intitiate it” vibe of the original series impermeates this, then you’ve got pretty much every one of the twists.
But dammit if I’m immature enough that I like these hard impassioned people finding ways to suppress their emotions, despite boiling underneath the skin and do the job they are hired to do. Even if it costs them their souls.
It’s the CIA, not as an agent of good, but of necessity, playing the long game while sacrificing all the pawns on the board. Recognising that they usually make things worse but justifying their own existence. I mean none of the books have quite the nihilism of the original Red, indeed the “Victoria” book by Jon Hoeber and David Hahn has quite the sweet ending that the others avoid. “Marvin” by Erich Hoeber and Diego Olmos goes into more comic-book familiar themes, revisiting the concept of the super-soldier vis Alfred E Hoffman. “Joe” by Doug Wagner and Bruno Redondo is the long game comic which almot makes senses when you reread it. And Frank by now ex-DC exec Greg Noveck and Jason Masters subverts the buddy cop expectations beautifully with an ending you’d never see on Lethal Weapon.
And it’s a tribute to the editors that these very different books do merge, do lend themselves to reading togethe in whatever order you wish. In fact choosing to read Victoria or Frank last may change your entire experience of the comics as a whole.
So is it worth paying more than you’re likely pay for a ticket to see the film for these four books? I can’t tell you that, this isn’t Numbercrunching. Odds are two weeks after the film is in cinemas, your shop may still have copied and you may be able to find them cheaper . But after reading these comics I’m more inclined to see the film, with a few characters I’m now introduced to. Films are often seen by publishers as adverts for their comics. The comics being an advert for the film, that’s a new one on me.
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