Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Red: Eyes Only

Red: Eyes Only
Written by Cully Hamner
Art by Cully Hamner and Val Staples
Lettering by Wes Abbott
Published by Wildstorm
Review by Lan Pitts

"The only thing that ever let me sleep was that we do it for a greater purpose. And now that's gone." -- Paul Moses aka Bruno Frank

No doubt it's been a good year for Red and its creators. The movie adaptation was a hit at the box office, and garnered a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture. The comic itself got more attention than it has in a while and reached a new audience. Red: Eyes Only adds another layer to the story as it is the prequel to the Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner original.

It's been a minute since I've read Red, but lucky for me, you can easily enjoy this story without having to scratch your head on what is going on. Paul Moses wants out of the job. His family has practically disowned him and has he carries a sense of loneliness and just doesn't care for the line of work. When Moses tells his employer that he wants out, it's not as simple as he thought. There's a process that slowly takes him out of the circuit, but that only leads to even more disaster and a revelation that Moses was not expecting.

Cully Hamner is taking the reins as writer and artist on this one as Warren Ellis did not participate. The violence is still there and the action is plenty, but there are still good character moments. I like Hamner's wink to giving Paul the alias of Bruno Frank, a nod to Bruce Willis. Hamner has solid panel construction and honestly some of his best work to date. The amount of detail put into every panel looks clean and crisp, the level of attention to the backgrounds is terrific. Even the detail of the Atlanta skyline and downtown Vienna just looks great on the page.

Colorist Val Staples joins in on the action. Usually, you'll find Hamner being colored on by Dave McCaig or Laura Martin. Staples has a more muted and softer pallet than what I'm used to seeing from him. Especially compared to his work on X-Men: First Class Finals. Though the colors do the suit the story, especially the more subtle moments.

Whether you're a new acquaintance or an old fan of Red and possibly weary that Ellis' exclusion will hinder the overall story, don't be. Hamner and company will satisfy your need for action, suspense, and quite a solid read.

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