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Review: Red: Joe

The twist at the end gives some rare pay-off that justifies a lot.

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Joe, Morgan Freeman's character from the upcoming movie Red, reflects on a costly mission he undertook in the USSR in the early 80s - - a mission that required his unit to make a great sacrifice for another agent's cover.

The Good

The twist at the end of this makes up for a lot of my qualms with it. It's actually a great example of some narrative slight-of-hand, because I definitely didn't see it coming and it makes you re-asses all 22 pages of what you've just read. Once again, the team does a great job of grabbing the actor's likeness. I felt like I was looking at a younger Morgan Freeman, for sure, and I could definitely hear his voice saying all the lines in my head. The dialog had his cadence.

The Bad

I don't know - - this issue didn't grab me as much as the other Red specials I've read.  While I know that it's a matter of necessary disbelief-suspension that you have to accept that the hero will take more damage than any real human could, but still... they make a point to show how much Joe gets roughed up and then totally disregard the consequences. They even emphasize how he gets shot through the thigh (with an exit wound!) and then he just walks it off.  I don't think I would've been focusing on that, though, if the issue itself had been as gripping as the other specials.

The Verdict - 3.5/5

This wasn't as strong as the other specials I read - - Frank and Victoria - - but it's still a pretty well put together book and a breath of fresh air for anybody who'd like to see genres other than superheroes (in this case, espionage) get the kind of production value usually only reserved for books with capes. I think I might like this better if I read it a second time, because the twist's a solid payoff. Wildstorm should be complimented in general for doing a really good job with all these Red tie-ins, though. These are quality comics, not quick cash-ins.