Daniel Corey, creator of Dangerkatt Creative Studios and the author of the gaslight-noir Moriarty series from a few years ago has paired up with artist Mark Dos Santos, famous for his colorfully art deco panel stills as the two bring to life a new miniseries called Red City.

Published by Image Comics, the new series is set in the distant future on a colonized Mars amidst a backdrop of inter-planetary cold War between separatists and Imperialists in a political conglomerate called the New Solar System, or NSS.

It’s a future chock full of odd-ball aliens whose morphologies are similar enough to our own that the investigative hero of this pulpish crime graphic, Cal, is able to interrogate them with little difficulty over the whereabouts of a missing diplomats daughter.

Corey paints a very broad backdrop of future solar history as the panels are brimming with cultural as well as personal accounts of a distant era that resembles a mix between Soviet-American cold-war intrigue alongside a bevy of Star Wars like residents.

It’s a decent plot with an interesting premise. What undercuts the novel though is the abundance of the back stories involved. Aiming for a graphic noir, there is a dizzying amount of information packed into the first issue that distills the traditional mysterious air of your typical hard-boiled caper. With such a wide universe to work with, a need to give context was clearly something Corey took to heart.

Combined with colorful, almost cheerful art however, the tone is less dark, more punk-ish in a vein similar to Transmetropolitan, though less crowded and with individuals wedded to an attire of Fedora’s and suit-jackets clearly taken out of centuries old cold storage. Dos Santos’ penance for pinup over grit definitely shines through in spades also making the comic less than edgy and more light-hearted overall.

The comic is a trippy walk into a world that combines futurism with snarky modern sarcasm all while being wrapped in a noirish package. It is a mix that so far treads on safe ground from each genre but seems unable or unwilling to push into new territory. Still, it’s a nice mix that paves the way for more of this mash-up, much like Corey’s Moriarty invariably gave rise to Dynamites reboot of the current and excellent series Sherlock Holmes Moriarty Lives.

Rating: 3/5

GS Blogger: Jesse B

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