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Red Team #’s 1 & 2 Review: Dexter Meets the Wire

So far, it’s Dexter meets season 5 of The Wire. While Red Team might not be so “new” anymore, the new-est series by legendary writer Garth Ennis is a step away from the tone he tends to adopt—that is, it’s short on his signature dark humor in the first two issues. Red Team will be seven issues into the series come tomorrow, and in an effort to catch up, I’ll be reviewing it in two issue increments until we only have upcoming issues to look forward to. Dexter? How so? Well, Red Team follows a group of people who commit murders for “the greater good.” The Wire? Season 5? It just so happens that the homicidal group is a police squadron who are sick and tired of undoubtedly guilty suspects tip-toeing around loopholes in the justice system. I’d like to point out that even at this early juncture, the aspect of this book that relates to Dexter—committing murder like it’s a public service—is already handled better here than in the show. In Red Team, the morality of it all isn’t so black and white.


So far, I love the format. It’s a year removed from the events in the story. Each issue centers on what appears to be an interrogation—or an interview?—of each member of the Red Team; Eddie is the interviewee in issue #1 and Trudy in issue #2. In those scenes, they are being totally candid with whomever it is they’re talking to. Clearly, they’ve already been found out for the murders they’ve been committing. What’s not so clear is if they’re being prosecuted or recruited. Duke and George are the two oldest cops on Red Team (a team of four), and it’s no surprise that they’re leading this little murder parade. After all, their age signifies that they’ve been on the force the longest, and therefore have spent the most time trying to get measly sentences for very bad people.  That being said, they’re definitely not the only ones who are disillusioned. While the question of whether or not the murders they are committing are just is constantly debated, what isn’t so questionable to any member of the Red Team are the perceived flaws in the justice system that have led them down this road. So far, they’re just a couple of good cops who have been pushed too far.


The writing is excellent. Ennis is a master of dialogue, and Red Team is told in flashbacks facilitated by one character telling a story to another, so there’s no shortage of it. It’s amazing how natural he makes it look. Also, based on what little of this series I’ve already read, I can tell you that these characters have depth. Eddie, Duke, George, and Trudy are a genuine group of people who make no decisions hastily. I can’t wait to see what Ennis has in store down the line. Craig Cermak has also done a fantastic job with his contribution: the artwork. It has the feel, not so much of a cartoon as many comics do, but of real life. The faces he renders speak for themselves, the expressions a clear reflection of what’s going on under the surface. I gave each of these four characters a look in the eye, and I feel like I know them well. When a talented artist meets a great writer, you get a good book. That and more is what you have here with Red Team.


So I can’t sing it’s praises enough. A talented writer drew me in, and an incredible story set to brilliant artwork kept me around. Red Team is a tale that will no doubt ask tough questions, challenge its readers, and be every bit as rewarding as an Ennis work can be. How many people will the Red Team kill? Will they be caught or turn themselves in? Will they ever kill the wrong person? I leave you with this: assume nothing. Red Team promises to be a wild ride with plenty of surprises.
  • Riveting Dialogue
  • In-depth character design
  • Fascinating story told creative ways
  • Realistic and consistent artwork
  • Lacks that signature Ennis humor


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