Review: Garth Ennis’ Red Team #4

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Red Team’s latest target could land them in very hot water, protected as he is from on high. Meanwhile, Trudy’s late night encounter with an amorous newcomer spells trouble of a different kind- the kind that could finish the entire team for good.

red team coverThe book that really got Dynamite’s new crime line kicked off continues this week with the release of Garth Ennis’ Red Team #4. You can guess who writes it, but Craig Cermak provides art, Adriano Lucas handles colors, and Rob Steen tackles lettering. Red Team has been a bold crime comic and we’re now in the middle of the series. So the only question is whether or not Red Team continues to deliver more gritty crime drama in a style only Ennis can pull off?

The story opens with the obligatory interrogation scene with this issue being Detective Giroux’s turn. The only female member of the group has a tougher time as she has to follow her own set of higher standards to “keep up with the boys.” We see the team pull off one more kill, and then they decided what they, as a group, will do next. So far they’ve pulled off every hit without a hitch. Nobody suspects a thing and there isn’t a single shred of evidence that can connect them to the murders. Eddie is still dealing with his cold feet over the whole situation, but he’s dealing. Duke and George are the team leaders, so they lay down the law on what is next for the team. Detective Giroux meets her sister at a nightclub after the team meeting to discuss what she and her sister will do about their ailing mother. When she finds herself in a sticky situation, she may find out she ignited the powder keg that will lead to Red Team’s downfall.

Ennis writes another gripping story. This is almost an experimental book. It’s a crime drama that would make for a fantastic novel, but it’s being adapted in comic book form. It’s real, it’s gritty, and it’s very violent. Ennis finally gives Duke and George the character development they’ve so desperately needed. This is a comic with a one-two punch of Detectives Eddie and Trudy, so Duke and George have suffered slightly. There is one scene, really one panel that shows more violence that has been seen or hinted at in the book as a whole. It’s actually a fantastic scene. Cermak shines as always. He does a lot of heavy lifting with the story since it’s mainly people talking, but he gets a few scenes of action that goes farther than we’ve seen before. The whole thing is elevated even higher by Lucas’ colors.

Bottom Line: Red Team continues to show that Dynamite made a good decision by kicking off a crime line of stories. Ennis and Cermak combined to write one of the most intense and dramatic comics out there. With only a handful of issues to go, it will be interesting to see how things fall apart further. 4.5/5

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