Story & Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Artist: Vanesa R. Del Ray
Redlands #1 did something few stories achieve within its first couple of pages- it made me care about the presumed bad guys. A group of what we are led to believe are witches take control of a corrupt and polluted town. The first issue mainly focuses on the sheer terror they inflict on the once in charge law enforcement. To this end, Redlands #1 succeeds entirely and keeps the reader’s interest for the issue and leaves them wanting more.
Jordie Bellaire’s sparse style of exposition works tremendously in Redlands. We’re really not told anything about anything related to the plot explicitly until at least midway through the issue. We know there are police officers barricading them inside from a monster. But the story unravels to inform us that the there is a supernatural monster/witches out there terrorizing them because of how evil they are. The prisoners inform us of the police’s corruptness and downright evilness. This style works almost perfectly as it amps up the horror by letting everything be a mystery. We don’t even know there are witches until the ending of the issue!
The ending does an amazing job setting up the upcoming story. The witches are in charge. And we don’t now if they are necessarily wholesome and well intentioned judging by the brutality they used to destroy the policemen.
The art also works for the most part. Del Ray employs a sketchy method in her figure work and detail that emphasizes the lack of information present in the story. When the specter decapitates the police officer after he rescues the child all that is shown is a black swath on the panel. Rey’s style conveys a sense of truly being afraid of the dark and the monsters that lurk in it. We don’t know what monster the girl turns into, but it is frightening.
But this lack of detail also works against it as some of the panels featuring the officer’s emotions look off. All of the officers seem to have the same face. Plus, the prisoners who are the presumed good guys based on their imprisonment by the bad cops look ghoulish. Maybe this will be explained in later issues as we learn that these prisoners aren’t as wholesome as we would want.
Redlands #1 is horrifying. It’s also amazing and should be on everyone’s list of new books to read for the upcoming future. Hopefully though more information will be explained and the reader will not be left in the dark as much- because it is very scary in there.