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Red Skull #1 - Incarnate, Part 1 Review

4

Even if you know the story of how Johann Schmidt grew up to become the Red Skull, seeing the beginning of his journey is not quite what you would expect. Greg Pak and Mirko Colak will take you to a place you might not be prepared to go.

Greg Pak blew us away with Magneto: Testament and now teams up with Mirko Colak to tell us the story of Johann Schmidt and how he would grow up to become the Red Skull. 
 

The Good 

Part of me didn't want to read this comic. Having recently re-read old issues with the Red Skull for our 3-Minute Expert video, I felt I already knew all I needed to know about Red Skull's past. Because Greg Pak was involved and the amazing cover by David Aja, I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm both happy and a little disturbed after haing read it. 
 
This issue takes place in 1923 and we see Johann Schmidt as a child. Red Skull is a vile character and we're not supposed to sympathize for him. If you know his story, Johann's mother died during childbirth and his father committed suicide shortly after. Needless to say, given the time period, Johann did not have the best childhood. But again, as a character of pure evil, why are we supposed to be interested in seeing what makes him tick? 
 
Pak fleshes out the villain and shows us a side we haven't seen. Colak's art captures the mood of the time period and you almost get a chill reading through the pages. I can't remember the last time a comic gave me such a hard time afterwards. 
 

The Bad 

We're getting several Captain America comics each week with the release of the movie fast approaching. I feel I already know all I need to about Red Skull. Greg Pak takes on a difficult task in adding some human elements to Johann Schmidt as a child while also showing us the evil that lies within. He does an excellent job but I can't help but feel a little disturbed. 
 

The Verdict 

If you've read Magneto: Testament, you have an idea what Greg Pak can do with a villain's back story. Even though Red Skull's past is pretty straight forward, seeing the little details that show him as human with the seeds of evil inside is a trip. Mirko Colak's art adds to the haunting feeling as we discover what life was like for young Johann. The fact that we are getting numerous Captain America related books unfortunately gives this a slight feeling of overload. And because Pak is such a skillful writer, the comic has moments of being disturbing as we find out more about the Red Skull.
5 Comments
Posted by Nasar7
Hmm I am intrigued. I don't read any Cap but will probably see the movie and this looks cool. Also for anyone wondering, the quote on the cover attributed to Frederick the Great roughly translates as "The strength of a state depends upon the great men who are born to it at the right moment."
Posted by GTG12

 
Great review i might get this one.

Posted by Eyz

An origins book just in time for the movie!

Posted by xposipx

Not a C.A. fan, but I bought this because I like this particular villian. It's solid and will only get better with the following issues.

Posted by Nasar7

Just read it, enjoyed it a lot. Thanks for the tip, Tony!