Overview

Red Herring #1

Review

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Red Herring #1

Credits

  • Words: David Tischman
  • Art: Philip Bond
  • Inks: David Hahn
  • Colors: Guy Major
  • Story Title: Blue Makes Her Look Fat
  • Publisher: DC Comics/WildStorm
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Aug 11, 2009

Because the truth is just sooo boring, everyone loves a good conspiracy. But a conspiracy story combined with comedy? Now that’s a whole new ordeal.

Riddle me this: which of the following haven’t we seen for the longest period of time? A story with Washington, DC as its backdrop or an original WildStorm comic – yes, one not based on a video game? Red Herring is both, but these surprising qualities are not what make this book unique.

After having read and enjoyed Tischman’s previous, Beatles on Steriods romp, Greatest Hits, I was looking forward to seeing what he had cooked up this time. Turns out his latest effort is one of a kind: there aren’t that many books out there that combine humor and seedy politics, let alone the way Red Herring does.

To illustrate, here’s what happens towards the end of the issue: a political hitman strangles and pushes our sexy female thirty year-old protagonist off a bridge. She’s found by our titular character, Mr. Red Herring, who expected to meet his inside man Meyer Weiner, instead. Our protagonist’s inner monologue? “You’re drowning in six inches of water. The last thing you remember is a guy with red hair -- asking for a hot dog.”

Classic.

Overall, it’s obvious there’s someone in the driver’s seat who knows where he’s going with this. A bad writer would get lambasted for introducing so many characters over a mere 22 pages, but here, it works as Tischman only needs a few panels to get to the core of each of his cast members. Future issues will undoubtedly bring more characterization, as this first episode is all about putting the chess pieces on the board and conveying the message that there’s much more going on than we get to see. The match itself has yet to get started.

Most people will remember Philip Bond from Vimanarama, the Indian comedy series he did with Grant Morrison a few years back for Vertigo. Bond’s an incredibly underrated artist: on the one hand, his style has a cartoony, easygoing flair to it that makes for the perfect complement to the comedy beats that Tischman has woven through every page of the issue. On the other, he has his way with facial expressions and knows when and where to use the right amount of blacks to keep the drama alive and kicking. And that’s just the combo the doctor ordered for a book that balances intrigue and humor the way Red Herring does.

Big props also to colorist Guy Major, who switches between various palettes and schemes based on mood, locale and tension without making the reader feel disoriented at all.

Red Herring is the surprise of the summer: it successfully combines two genres that at first sight don’t seem to be compatible, resulting in a book that is truly different. Over the next six issues, Tischman and Bond will surely take us on a ride filled with intrigue and good laughs.

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