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Red Team [Shotgun Blurbs]
by Contributing Writer Keith Silva
Dynamite Entertainment Creators: Garth
Ennis, Craig Cermak and Adriano Lucas
What It's About: Four
detectives from a major crimes unit in the New York City Police Department go
rogue and decide to take the law into their own hands. Duke, George, Eddie and
Trudy are cops’ cops, each has seen too much and become angry at the fact the
bad (really really bad) persist despite their crimes. Red Team branches off of the 'what if' wish fulfillment morality and
ethics of killing to save a life and asks: 'what's wrong with killing the
guilty?' The story is structured as confessionals intercut with flashbacks of
the murder under discussion. It's not clear who the interlocutor is and what
happened to bring Red Team in to confess its crimes, it's also not clear if it's
a confession or a debriefing (?) or what. Red
Team works in greys.
Why You Should Buy It: The best works of genre fiction understand
the boundaries, rules, conventions and clichés of the genre and either exploit
those principles or finds ways to reinforce those ideals in a clever way; the
exceptional examples, the classics, the real burners do both. Red Team -- the title itself smacks of devilish wit, rouge, of course, being French for red and close enough to the
English word 'rogue' to not be mere coincidence -- illustrates
Ennis's smarts and how he plays with inference and the audience's
expectation. Red Team stakes its
claim as a writerly
text because Ennis expects the reader to become active in the
investigation, culpable. What does it say about a reader who agrees with the
principle of a just killing? In the series timeline, Red Team's first kill
takes place eight months before the members are brought in for questioning.
This gives Ennis time to develop this story and to (hopefully) keep the
confession/flashback structure from wearing too thin.
If Ennis is the
cagey vet who's seen too much, Craig Cermak plays the role of the hot-shot
rookie looking to show the old man he's his equal in every way; two issues in
Cermak looks to be a worthy successor to other Ennis collaborators who go by
the names Dillon and Robertson. Cermak's cartooning looks like the storyboards
to a great movie or TV show and not in a way either Cermak (or Ennis) has
designs on Red Team being anything
more than a well told work of sequential art. Colorist Adriano Lucas finds the
sweet spot between lurid and realistic. Lucas's sickly grey-greens of the
confessional sequences say as much about Red
Team as Ennis's words and Cermak's composition.
worn-at-the-heels detective once said: ''I
just don't think I can continue to live in a place that embraces and nurtures
apathy as if it was virtue.''
What Ennis, Cermak and Adriano want to interrogate is how dirty Red Team can
get, how do they stay clean and at what cost; and is it worth fighting for,
worth killing for?