Review: Garth Ennis’ Red Team #5
A close encounter with one of their own leaves Red Team on uncertain ground, while Eddie faces problems at home. So no one’s quite ready when a very bad night in the ghetto catapults our heroes into a tense situation beyond their wildest nightmares…
After a bit of a delay, Dynamite’s crime series seeing cops become killers continues this week. Red Team #5 is written by Garth Ennis with art by Craig Cermak. Adriano Lucas handles colors and Rob Steen provides lettering. Red Team has been a brutal, gritty and interesting crime drama but is it still good after the delay?
This issue starts out differently than the previous 4. The story opens with Eddie and Trudy setting in Eddie’s car outside the precinct. They’ve worked past the one night in the bar when Eddie sort of hit on Trudy, but there’s still some tension there. Things get even worse when Eddie’s wife stumbles upon the scene. When Eddie and Trudy go back inside the precinct they face another, and much bigger, problem. The chief is allowing O’Dwyer to look into the mysterious murders that were really done by Red Team. Duke, the leader of Red Team, tries to talk the chief out of it but he believes it’s a dead end that will at least keep O’Dwyer out of his way for a while. Red Team takes some time to talk over the latest development before doing some surveillance on their next target. They decide they won’t kill anybody just yet, they’re just going to watch. They think there isn’t any evidence for O’Dwyer and his team to find, so they agree to keep snuffing out crime on the side. When the simple surveillance mission ends with a shocking revelation, Red Team realize they may be in trouble after all. Are things finally starting to fall apart? Has Red Team gotten too cocky?
Ennis writes a tense issue. Things are dramatic in the beginning, but it’s still a little slow going. The second half really kicks things into a different gear. When the shocking revelation is revealed during the surveillance mission, the entire book takes a different direction. Things have been bloody and brutal most of the series, but things reach an entirely different level this time. It serves as a stark contrast between the two factions we see (trying to stay vague because the reveal is a doozy). Cermak’s art is great as always. He doesn’t have to do as much heavy lifting as some other issues since there is some action and character drama to play up. The final scenes during the drug deal are absolutely brutal. They’re just as vicious and visceral as they need to be. It’s all elevated by Lucas’ colors. From the interrogation scenes to the action pieces, Lucas keeps everything consistent and fairly grounded.
Bottom Line: Red Team continues to be a hard-hitting crime drama with a story only Garth Ennis could pull off. We’re getting close to the end of the story, but Ennis has added another element that entirely changes the game. A compelling story with solid art keeps Red Team going strong. 4/5