COMIC REVIEW: The Red Ten Issues 1-3 of 10

I love my superheroes. My fiancé loves Agatha Christie. Therefore Comixtribe’s The Red Ten written by Tyler James and drawn by Cesar Feliciano sounds like it should be the perfect suit for both of us: a superhero retelling of Christie’s classic And Then There Were None. The Red Ten is an intriguing concept that like a fine wine gets better with age.

The story follows the death of the world’s greatest Detective Red. Her former partner Crimson assumes that this is the work of her criminal arch nemesis, The Oxymoron. He assembles the team that Red was apart of (The Alliance) and head towards The Oxymoron’s island. There they discover many horrific secrets including a nursery rhyme that seems to prophesise each member’s death. The series has already had success with its main villain The Oxymoron, spanning from the pages to be apart of his own Kickstarter, oversized graphic novel anthology.

Tyler James states at the end of issue one that this is his chance to kill The Justice League and that is exactly it: using the Christie classic as a template it produces a unique twist on the superhero genre. The characters are simply analogues of their Marvel and DC counterparts (Red is Batman, Oxymoron is The Joker, Throttle is The Flash etc) but this works to its benefit. It could have been nice to see new characters facing this fate but it works well with the reader. We do not need a lengthy back story for any of these characters because we already know them. Yes Batman wears red and is a woman but we automatically know what Red is about. What is more in later issues we discover some of James’ versions of these characters origins and they are entertaining, adding a modern flavour to many of these tried and tested characters. Throttle for example has an incredibly intriguing past that adds depth to his character. He is not just a Barry Allen homage, illustrating a clever retake on his origin.

Each issue James promises us that another member of The Alliance will fall. The issues themselves are well scripted with the threatening nursery rhyme repeated at the end of the issue to show how horrifically close it is to what is happening to our heroes. Further there are many nice little nods to Agatha Christie running through the series such as streets being named after her and a young Red reading an Agatha Christie book.

The Red Ten’s biggest downfall is its dialogue and its art. In issue one I felt that this was at its most obvious. Some of the dialogue does not work for me, feeling more like a throwback to the nineties. This might have been the thing that James was going for and if this is the case it will not bother other people. I just felt it was jarring with the rest of the story. However a bigger problem is that some of the dialogue did not feel particularly natural. This is an issue that is very difficult to conquer. Yet as we enter into issue 2 onwards, the dialogue gets tighter. In regards to art, Feliciano’s style improves with every issue. You can really see a development in issue 2 when he is paired with Vic Moya on inks. The team really help to make the art pop out of the page. The colouring by Guillermo Ucha works well and adds depth to the artwork. This can especially be seen in issue 3 where we have a flashback to The Oymoron fighting Red and Crimson.

There are also many nice additions to The Red Ten story. Every issue provides you with a piece of evidence for you as the reader to examine. If you buy all physical copies of the story you can put the evidence together and it will reveal clues as to who has done it. Further other additions are prose stories on Red and Crimson’s past. This Watchmen like method manages to add depth to the world that these characters inhabit.

All in all The Red Ten is an incredibly enjoyable series to go along with its other Comixtribe book, The Standard making me want to try their other book, Scam. It is an intriguing concept where the creative team get better with every issue. If you have always wondered how DC might try to kill The Justice League you should check this out.

GS Rating: 4/5

GS Reporter: Luke Halsall

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One comment

  1. dregj /

    the colouring couldnt get any worse really

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