You’re a former police detective now with the military. Using your knowledge of policing and your old stomping grounds, you’re sent to one of the biggest, seediest places in the Solar system, Mars, to track down the daughter of a missing diplomat. This is Red City and the man in the know is Cal Talmage. Written by Daniel Corey and with art by Mark Dos Santos, Red City is a noire crime tale set in space.
Into the belly of the beast
I’ve experienced plenty of film noires over the years and pieces of pulp, I’m use to femme fatales and so on, which means that the format wasn’t something I was expecting to be innovative. But rather than feeling cliché, Corey’s choice of starting the comic just at a moment of intense action and then backtracking feels more like a homage to the genres being drawn on here rather than pastiche. You get a nice deep sensation of foreboding as Talmage explains what’s been going on his life and the Solar system at large.
And with Talmage narrating the issue, a character that could have seemed like some wisecracking arse is instead shown to be far more thoughtful than he lets on to surrounding characters. You get why he’s managed to hold the positions he’s had, why he’s not someone you should judge too quickly and it’s this kind of characterisation that makes him a character that I liked by the end of the issue.
The art of Mark Dos Santos couples with the colouring of Chris Fenoglio has produced a version of a colonised Mars that seems vibrant and packed. In particular I loved a two page spread they did that shows the city as Talmage is just stepping into gear with his investigation. It’s not overly detailed, there aren’t lines and lines of art, but its openness helps portray a vastness to Talmage’s surroundings that help to reflect the hugeness of the task that has been set.
It was interesting, too, how a far eastern influence was visible in the street scenes: it’s like the futures we often see represented in science fiction films and novels like Blade Runner or Neuromancer . And it all looks pretty gorgeous.
Worth a read?
If you’re looking for something that’s a bit science-fiction, has a touch of noire, and has nothing to do with superheroes, then I think Red City is definitely worth a read. I’ve only read issue one so far, but after the way it ended I am definitely looking forward to where things will go in issue two. And if you’re still not convinced, check out my interview with the comic’s writer, Daniel Corey, in this Nerds Assemble episode from May .
Red City issue one, published by Image, is out now. Our reviewer bought their own copy.