As all good comic book fans know, this summer will bring the long-awaited Captain America movie, featuring Marvel's fabled super soldier. While we're all waiting for the shield-slinging Avenger to premiere in all his IMAX 3D glory, Image's own set of special ops super soldiers premiered last week in Red Spike #1. And just as we expect from Cap, this comic feels like an all-out summer action movie that's full of energy and excitement.
Red Spike tells the story of two soldiers, augmented with an amazing charge to their adrenal glands, who are sent on a secret combat mission in a strange foreign land. As expected, the soldiers triumph thoroughly and completely in their mission, but the mens' victory comes at a severe price -- one of the American warriors is shot in battle, which has the potential of leading to a whole lot of very severe consequences for both the soldiers and the agency that they work for.
This is one of those comics that reads very much like a really fun action movie. It favors visual excitement over verbal complexity, and has the pace of a house on fire. But it also has its own unique elements of mystery and complexity to it.
After finishing Red Spike #1, I wanted very much to know more about the mysterious Washington black ops agency that created these super soldiers, and why they sent these men on their mission. What is the purpose of these men, how much did the government invest in their creation, and what sorts of internal battles were fought to create these super soldiers? What is the organization that they attacked, and why does America hate them? There are a lot of small and important mysteries set up in this issue, which should lead this series to an interesting conclusion.
The subtlety of those mysteries shows the how well constructed this comic is: though much of the issue is devoted to the action elements of the story, there's enough intellectual depth and thoughtful mystery to help make Red Spike a thoroughly satisfying read.
Another aspect of this book that makes it feel like a summer action movie is that many characters look a lot like movie stars. You'd have to be blind to not notice that a key character looks like Patrick Stewart, and another prominent character is the spitting image of Ed Harris.
But that resemblance is not necessarily a bad thing. Like Paul Gulacy, artist Salvador Navarro strives to create a filmic vision of this comic in order to help accentuate the drama and excitement of the story. You can see Gulacy's influence in every line that Navarro draws, but that style seems a good fit for a story of this type.
For its $1 cover price, this is a thrilling intro to a comic series that promises to be a lot of fun. In this summer of Captain America, it's interesting to read a comic about a pair of super soldiers who fit a thoroughly different mold.
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