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Review: The Red #1

The Red #1

There was a time I worked in advocacy for video games fighting against censorship and fighting for policies that benefited creators and players. During that time, there was a lot of talk of censorship and video games as free speech. One of the projects I contemplated was an alternate reality game taking place in a world where video games were banned and only played in speakeasies breaking the prohibition. The Red #1 is a similar concept expanding the prohibition to anything that can elicit an emotion. It’s also a hell of a start to the series.

Taking place in a distant future, a nuclear war has ravaged humanity. A single government entity now presides over what’s left of the world and prohibits certain content that is deemed emotionally dangerous, or “red,” in an attempt to maintain order and keep society working. The Red takes us into that underground world where musicians let their talent flow flaunting the control of a totalitarian government.

Written by Morgan Rosenblum, The Red‘s story is by Matthew Medney, Voodoo Bownz, Jonny Handler, and Rosenblum. Together they’ve created a world that feels familiar and characters we can easily relate to and understand. This is a comic that’s easy to slide into and enjoy. The concept isn’t out there and the world itself familiar.

And that’s a good thing as it allowed me to easily sink into the story and focus on the characters. And it’s the characters that stand out. Though they all fill their niche, there’s something also very charming about them all. This is a story and characters that you could easily see on tv and while not yet memorable they’re also very entertaining. There’s an almost musical quality about them where their personalities are all larger than life and they all stand out in their own way. With a “small cast” when each takes the stage the spotlight is immediately on them.

The art helps the cool factor of it all with beautiful visuals that are broken up by propaganda posters from the totalitarian rulers. Jon Lam provides the art with Voodoo Bownz lettering and there’s such a great style to it all. There’s clearly a lot of thought put into how this world is depicted, especially when it comes to colors. The dreary emotionless world is bathed in browns and yellows. The underground world of free music features purples and pinks. The in-between features reds. You can almost tell where individuals are locations stand based on the color palette chosen.

The Red #1 delivers a solid start into a familiar concept and world but down with splash and style. You can almost hear the music played in scenes. I awaited each character having the spotlight shined on them with a monologue ala Chorus Line. I liked it all and was sucked in quickly. What’s presented isn’t groundbreaking but it’s all done really well. The Red #1 introduces us to a world that while dystopian, still has a cool factor that makes me want to visit.

Story: Morgan Rosenblum, Matthew Medney, Voodoo Bownz, Jonny Handler Writer: Morgan Rosenblum
Art: Jon Lam Ink: Jon Lam Color: Jon Lam Letterer: Voodoo Bownz
Story: Art: Overall: Recommendation: Buy

Heavy Metal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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