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‘Shanghai Red #1’ (review)

Written by Christopher Sebela
Illustrated by Joshua Hixson
Published by Image Comics


You have to hand it to Image Comics. They really do publish some of the  most diverse books in the market. They are also willing to take bold chances on books.

This comic takes place in the late 1880’s. But it’s so strong, you don’t care. On top of that, the first issue takes place on the open sea on a ship. It’s a far cry away from normal superhero books!

The main character in this book is a woman named Red. When the book starts out, we see she has been drugged and sold off to the ship’s Captain. The boat itself is on a mission and will be out to sea for years to come.

We see Red turn things around. She’s been posing as a man. She then stages a mutiny and takes over control of the boat. She then reveals her gender.

Now, it’s time to take the ship back!

Red is an incredible character. She’s cunning and smart and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty to fulfill her goals. When someone tells her about the mutiny that she “slaughtered those men like they were animals,” her reply is, “They were. A feral dog walking and talking like a man don’t make it one. Just makes it harder to kill.”

Sebela does a great job of making her character tough and vulnerable.

We get some back story as well about Red. It’s never heavy handed and flows nicely. At the end of the book, we end up back at land. It sets the book up for the next issue and it’s very strong.

The art by Hixson is very strong and tells the story perfectly. He reminds me of a young David Mazzucchelli. This is an interesting debut for what could be a great  series. I’m definitely intrigued to see what happens next!


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