Red Hot. Issue 1. Comic Book Review!


Red Hot #1
(Luoma. Gwyn)

THE IDEA… Red Hot is a third-generation super hero – at least he’s trying to be a hero. He’s been following tips, stopping robberies and other criminal activity as he tries to make a name for himself. If he can prove he’s a real hero, he may be invited to join The Team – the group of powered humans who work for good in tandem with governments around the globe.

From the theme of figuring out how to be a hero (with undercurrents of how to be a comic-book writer/artist beneath the surface), through to crisp artwork, and solid writing, this is a surprisingly well-rounded comic-book.

This opening issue has a distinct Justice Society of America feel. Not a bad thing given that Geoff Johns run on that comic is one of my favourite runs of anything, but an interesting thing. Playing on the ideas of legacies and what makes a superhero, Mike Luoma has plotted a story that has to do fifty things at once and convey it all subtly. Rhys ap Gwyn is up to the task in terms of the art. It may not be quite as shiny and polished as the very best of the big two, with some of the lettering a little off (in particular the flaming effect flickers a little too much, even if it’s intentional), but it has a crisp feel and is very colourful. One could make a connection to the feel of the Dini/Timm Superman cartoon. That said, it also feels unique. Mike and Rhys have managed to create a living breathing universe, never insulting the reader with patronising imagery or redundant narration. Characters existed before and after, and act accordingly.

It also, as you’d expect and hope for, has some cracking superhero fights.

However, there’s one thing that feels a little false and that’s the length. Great as this is, and pacy as it is, they rush through a lot in the first issue. While Red Hot’s arc is clearly far from over, and they’re not going to risk a six part opening story this early (nor should they), it feels like an extra ten pages could have added increased depth. For example, we don’t know what Red Hot’s relationship to Mind Man is BEFORE he discovers he’s really a supervillain. So there’s no big reveal, more a little bump in the road. Granted this isn’t a major gripe, and it’s still a damn good and assured first entry, it’s just that I’d prefer more pages to the comic.

But if that’s my only real complaint? Well, I’d say mission accomplished.

Grade: A-

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