Review: Red Team #1 By Garth Ennis

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Part one: The First-Timers. Eddie Mellinger, Trudy Giroux, Duke Wylie and George Winburn are Red Team: the NYPD’s elite anti-narcotics unit. They’ve taken down one drug lord after another with a careful blend of meticulous surveillance and applied violence, but their latest case has even them stumped. Their frustration leads them to take extreme measures- setting them on a path from which there can be no coming back. As they’re about to discover, doing the wrong thing can be very, very seductive.

Garth Ennis starts a new series this month with Dynamite’s Red Team. Ennis kicks off a new line of crime books for Dynamite with the seven issue series of hardcore crime drama. The story is Ennis’ with illustrations by Craig Cermak. Adriano Lucas handles colors with Rob Steen tackling letters. Is the introductory issue a hit or a miss?

red team coverThe story opens with an interrogation scene. Detective Eddie Mellinger is telling the story about how he and the other members of the major crimes unit Red Team decided to murder a suspect. He, Trudy, Duke and George had lost another detective during a drug bust. He wasn’t a close friend or anything, but he was one of their own. Clinton Days is the man at the top responsible for most of the drugs and vice they’re investigating. He keeps slipping through their fingers and the recent death was the last straw. Red Team decides they are going to kill Clinton Days. Through the course of the interrogation we see how they decided on the deed, how they planned it and how they carried it out. They pull it off, but the worst possible thing that could happen happens.

Ennis writes another terrific story. This is a gritty crime drama in the vein of The Shield or The Wire. It’s not a black and white story, this is all in the grey. The first issue continues to build up until you find out what the “worst possible thing that could happen” is. You’ll read it and be surprised, I guarantee it. Cermak’s art is terrific. A good chunk of the story is people sitting around and talking, and Cermak makes it interesting and keeps it moving. Lucas’ colors help elevate the story. The contrasts between the story and the interrogation room are pretty striking.

Bottom Line: Ennis has another hit on his hands with Red Team. This is one crime drama that’s worth your attention. If this is how Dynamite is going to handle their new crime stories, then I’m game. The story isn’t entirely new, but the way Ennis goes about it makes it very fresh. Ennis and Cermak make a fantastic team 5/5

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