Pushing through The Paradox
In the 23rd century a war waged through time will determine the fate of humanity
I'm all about sci-fi stories and feel that it's a genre that underrepresented in the medium, even at the creator owned/indy level. That being said, The Red Wing is a breath of fresh air and a welcome addition to my long box.
The premise of fighting a war throughout time really allows for Nick Pitarra to do some very interesting things visually. The first couple of pages in the comic really establishes this as we see the pilots of the TACs (Temporal Attack Craft) warp from the age of the dinosaurs to 21st century Paris.
The ship designs we've seen thus far are very nice and the differences between the two forces being well established. Props to Pitara for hitting us with five craft designs straight out the gate. Most artists would take the easy route and lift some star wars designs, and while you can see the Lucas influence in his crafts, Pitarra puts enough of his own spin on things to get props.
I'd never seen Nick Pitarra's work until the S.H.I.E.L.D. Infinity issue he did with Hickman (very nice issue by the way) and after seeing him do a full issue I've got to say why the hell hasn't this guy been working on something for any of the major companies til now?! The work he turns in on this book is very impressive. He has a very interesting style, If I had to compare it to something I'd say it's close to a mix between Quitely and Burnham. This story really allows Pitarra to play around a lot and he takes full advantage of this as he kinetically jumps from time period to time period. I think the one image that fully encapsulates what he brings to the table on this title is the full page spread in which he displays what a harsh mistress time can be. Rachelle Rosenberg does an excellent job on the colors of this title and compliments Pitarra's pencils.
Anybody who's read any of Hickman's other works, namely S.H.I.E.L.D. will recognize many of his usual themes (fathers and sons, fate/free will, time manipulation) but this new setting allows this story to have a unique feel all it's own. The biggest concept thus far in the series is time and time travel. Time travel stories can get very bad, very quickly, and I generally tend to hate them very much. Despite this whenever Hickman does this he always does so with a true mastery of the subtle nuances which make these stories work. Early in the game he establishes that time does not flow from point a to point b but up, down, and sideways. This eliminates those pesky time paradoxes often plague stories of this nature. I find this take on time traveling much more intriguing than usual approach and opens the door to plot avenues that I can't wait to see Hickman exploit.
I'm interested in the concept of this story but not the characters. Hopefully next issue will focus on character building now that the parameters of this story have been set.
I'm going to rule this one a buy. Those worrying that this would be a rehash of Pax Romana have no fear! Though Hickman sticks to his usual themes, he manages to set apart this narrative from his other works and it stands as a beast all its own. Hickman has to introduce the concepts which will serve as the foundations for his narrative so this first issue read a little mechanistically to me. From a technical standpoint there's nothing wrong with this issue, but it lacks that human element for me. Now that Hickman's set the parameters he can delve into the characters and establish the heart of this title. Hickman's return to creator owned work begins in very impressive manner.