Frontier boomtown Timely has more than its share of scoundrels: it takes a hero to keep them in line. Red Wolf—the Cheyenne who crossed the desert and stood up to Mayor Wilson Fisk in Secret Wars’ 1872—is the only man who can fill fallen Sheriff Steve Rogers’ boots. As an outsider and an honest man, Red is going to need all his wits, and both his fists, to serve and protect. The tale of how Red Wolf wins the West starts in 1872, and will take him farther than he could ever imagine!
Red Wolf #1 marks the first time the character Red Wolf has headlined his own book in more than 30 years. The character will be waiting a bit longer for a headlining comic that’s actually worth reading.
Can you imagine watching The Two Towers before watching Fellowship Of The Ring if you’d never read the Lord Of The Rings? No? Because that’s the kind of feeling you get here. The first issue of Red Wolf is not in any way, shape or form a good jumping on point (nor is it in any way comparable to Lord Of The Rings). I don’t know whether Nathan Edmonson assumed that only people who read 1872 would pick up this comic, but even with the recap page’s briefing (I think that the preview text from Marvel in italics above does a better job than the recap page) I was utterly lost. Granted the lack of comprehensive detail on the recap page shouldn’t have been a big deal if there was any kind of characterization or explanation within the comic.
The comic didn’t really get any better from there; Edmonson‘s dialogue seemed wooden and without any real energy to it which is a far cry to his work on The Activity, and there was very little flow to the story itself. A sub par outing in the writing department can often be made up when you look at the art, and being able to follow a story through the art when the writing lags is an advantage that comics have.
Not so much here.
Dalibor Talajic has proven in the past that he’s a solid artist, but he seems to have phoned it in here; his facial expressions aren’t exactly the best, and some scenes get lost amidst the murky artwork, or are hard to follow because of the choices made in framing the scene by the artist. Even the way in which Red Wolf is drawn throws doubt onto his age, but one feature that is interesting is the use of white space when portraying items in the foreground. It’s evocative of both the recent Moon Knight series and Frank Miller’s art style, but that doesn’t make it enough to bother reading, let alone buying, this comic.
On the final page of the comic Red Wolf #1 asks if I want to find out what happens next issue. I don’t. I didn’t really care what happened this issue, to be honest.
While I applaud Marvel for their attempt at diversifying their line with the All New All Different relaunch, it’s hard to imagine this comic reaching too high on the sales charts. If Red Wolf is cancelled it won’t be because fans don’t want to read a comic about a Native American character, it’ll be because the comic isn’t worth reading.
Your money is better off elsewhere.
Writer: Nathan Edmonson Artist: Dalibor Talajic
Story: 4 Art: 4 Overall Rating: 4 Recommendation: Pass
Also posted on Graphic Policy.