Red City is familiar or at least it is for me. Red City is inspired by a time in science fiction in which we could believe that there could be life on other planets in our solar system. As the name somewhat implies it takes place on Mars, but in this story there’s life on every planet in the solar system. The story begins by using my least favorite story telling device in which it begins in what’s dubbed “the present” and then the story jumps to what it calls the “past” and begins working its way up the moment we saw. It wasn’t until I went through the issue again for the review that I remember this and frankly it wasn’t needed. It did absolutely nothing for the story and didn’t pique my interest in the “what’s to come” department. Frankly it felt like it was pandering to the genre more than helping the story.
The true opening is on a prisoner transport ship that’s orbiting Mars. This is where we meet Cal who has been narrating the story thus far. The other person that’s in the holding cell with him wakes up and they have a pretty random chat. This unknown man could play a part in the story later, but otherwise he’s just there to get the story rolling and give us some insight into why Cal’s locked up. To put it plainly it’s to paint Cal as a smooth criminal, but not really a bad guy.
Cal’s called into one Colonel Slade’s office. This scene serves the means of introducing what Cal will be doing for the remainder of the story (at least until the swerve in the plot) and to give more background on Cal. Writer Daniel Corey essentially works in Cal’s entire origin in just two conversations.
His mission involves finding the daughter of the Mercurian Ambassador that’s gone missing just as a peace treaty is happening. The planets are really more of their own countries now and are all unified by a U.N. of sorts called the NSS. From there Cal is cut loose on Mars in Mars Central his old stomping grounds back when he was a cop.
This story begs comparison to things like Cowboy Bebop, Star Wars and a great deal of crime fiction, but here’s the thing… it doesn’t ask you to compare. It doesn’t really care because it’s too busy telling it’s story and making it entertaining while it does. Daniel Corey does a wonderful job sucking you into the story and while it’s not perfect, it’s definitely a solid read. There does tend to be an overload on the narration, but hopefully it’s something that’s limited to this first issue. Otherwise Corey covers an impressive amount of information in the first issue without it being daunting to read.
Artist Mark Dos Santos has the task of creating a world that is alien and yet similar to our own. Santos manages to make the world look advanced from our own, but not too far advanced. You believe in the space travel, but not that world hunger has been solved so that keeps the story grounded for sure. Really the story and art both walk a fine line, never going too far in one direction. He also captures the atmosphere of the P.I. genre which is what the story is going for once Cal hits the surface.
The great thing about this issue is that when you read it everything fades into the background. Not once did I make a comparison to another story while reading it, but when you finish it that’s when the thoughts creep in. I don’t think it’ll be for everyone since there is a lot of genre meshing, but it could surprise some people. Myself, I’ll be back for the next issue and hope that it can throw a few surprises my way.
Writer: Daniel Corey Artist: Mark Dos Santos Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 6/11/14 Format: Print/Digital