Shanghai Red #1 Review
Written by: Christopher Sebela
Art by: Joshua Hixson
Colors by: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Published by: Image Comics
When new comics hit the shelves we are often promised brave new visions or directions by publishers. Largely these promises are nothing more than misdirection. Clever ploys to get us to pick up a new number one in the hopes of getting the first seat on the bandwagon. Shanghai Red, a new series from Image Comics, however, doesn’t just promise, it delivers.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, after nearly 100 years of comics many of the great new ideas have already been done. That’s what is so amazing about the first issue of Shanghai Red. Here Christopher Sebela and company don’t set out to remake the wheel. Instead they pull it out, check for bald spots, air it up, make sure it’s balanced and put it to good use.
Here we have one of the great classic tropes in literature, the revenge story brought up to speed and put into comic form. Shanghai Red tells the story of Jack or Red if you prefer, the victim of a shanghaiing in Portland who turns on his captors. Sadly, he does this just as his forced servitude is about to be over. After two years, on the cusp of being offered gainful employment Jack kills his captors and turns the ship back toward Portland.
This is all you really need to know going into the first issue of Shanghai Red. It is a revenge story, a story about getting even. Something everyone can relate to. Many of us deal with small grievances everyday and just say to ourselves “Someday you’ll get yours”. Well in Shanghai Red you can relish as Jack takes control of his life again and secures his revenge upon his captors.
What is equally amazing here is the art provided by Joshua Hixson. Told in bold strokes the art is perfect for this story. The cover composed of mostly black and red mirrors much of the art inside. Here we see a traditional sailing vessel as it crests a wave followed by a school of sharks. This dark but wonderfully rendered scene is but a glimpse of the horror inside as Jack takes control of the vessel and throws the bodies of his captors overboard.
There is a lot more to Jack’s story that is sure to unfold in the coming months. There are even a few surprises to be had in this issue. Know this, I have done my best to write a spoiler free review of Shanghai Red for you. Christopher Sebela, Joshua Hixson and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou have delivered a perfect blending of words, art and color. Every so often publishers and creators deliver on their promises and I for one am glad they did. After all, sometimes it’s cathartic to see someone finally get what’s coming to them.