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Review: Red: Frank

Wildstorm is just KILLING it with these tie-in books.

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Bruce Willis' character, Frank, recalls an assassination mission he took in Cairo during the early 90s - -  a mission where he taught a young recruit, the hard way, that it's dangerous to get attached.

The Good

I don't like to compliment books on being "cinematic" because it implies that the highest comics can ever aspire to be is "being like a movie." But the combination of spot-on-but-still-fluid likeness, tight dialogue and smooth, intuitive pacing made this comics one of the few I accurately, honestly say "reads" like a movie. You WILL hear Willis and Freeman's voice in your head here. Tight is really the operative word. Noveck and Masters are really at peak perfomance here. I loved how they were able to weave a somber message about the dangers of getting "too close" into an action-packed, genuinely funny plot without things ever getting heavy-handed . "Lose the girl" indeed.  That part where Frank kicks a would-be assassin in front of a train because he "felt an itch in his balls" was my favorite. 

The Bad

This ends kind of abruptly with some perfunctionary callback - - but who gives a crap? This is a lead-in to a movie. You should know that going in.

The Verdict - 4.5/5

Whew... this is a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I never got to read the original Ellis/ Hammer Red mini-series, but this is a strong book in its own right. You don't really need to know anything before or after to enjoy this. Kudos to Wildstorm, who've become DC's de facto spot for licensed titles, because they've given all of these media tie-ins the proper care. None of them have been rushed cash-ins, and this was seriously one of the best told-in-one's I've read in a while.   I'm looking forward to reading more of the other Red specials that came out this week.