The Thin Red Line Between Crap and...

"Red Spike" #1 from Image Comics

In our industry, the decade before the previous decade is commonly considered a dead zone of quality for American comics. The truth of that belief is a matter of some debate. The mainstream seemed to put emphasis on the pure visuals over the story. The characters in these comics tended to be muscle-bound men and women carrying huge guns, covered in gear (mainly pouches) constantly blowing things up. I'm sadly here to tell you comics like that are still being made today. And one of them is the first issue of Image Comics' (@imagecomics) currently ongoing comic-book "Red Spike".

The bombastic cover, at left, by fan-favorite Mark Texeira is pretty emblematic of the interior stuff too:

+ The two male main characters are nearly indistinguishable from each other. One has brown hair, one has black hair. One is a macho adrenaline-junkie, one is... a macho adrenaline-junkie who's also a bit of a jerk.

+ The scientist who made them into controlled-adrenaline ultra-soldiers and the military man who approved it are depicted as nefarious but entirely without unique personalities or even contextual existence. Why are they doing this? Who knows? Is there a mystery at the core of it?

Who knows?

Sometimes, a project just goes wrong. In this case the editor Dave Elliott is also credited as a developer thus no one ever got a chance to say 'Hey, these characters are pretty thin. Maybe we could think a little harder about who they are and show that to the readers before we thrust them into a war-zone.' or 'Is this the whole main conceit of the story? What else could you add to this concept to give this more meat for the reader beyond this one action-oriented idea?' Deadlines loom ever-closer and nobody speaks up and nothing changes.

I fear this project might have been one of those times. @ProjectRedSpike just went wrong.

I truly and sadly believe this comic does not have a single redeeming quality on which I can recommend it.

I'm shocked to see positive reviews of this material on other sites. [, I'm looking at you.] There is NOTHING happening in this comic other than entirely predictable action scenes where lots of things explode followed by entirely predictable argument scenes with lots of shadowy military figures. Regular readers of my work know I do not cruelly savage other people's work, nor do I tear people down, but I would be remiss in not steering my readers away from this comic. You won't be seeing a review of issue #2 from me anytime soon.

~ @JonGorga

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