Review – Johnny Red #1 (of 8) (Titan Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Titan Comics
Story: Garth Ennis.
Art: Keith Burns
Release Date: 4th November, 2015

Johnny Red is pure, unadulterated nostalgia. Not bad nostalgia, like some people have for mullets or flares. No, this is the good stuff like you have for Cremola Foam or Spangles. If you ever read a copy of Battle from 1977 onwards you will more than likely have a fondness for good old Johnny.

This first issue does a great job of beginning to reintroduce Johnny Red to hopefully a whole new audience (and not just us old farts who can remember things from the 70’s and 80’s).

We start with a dot com millionaire visiting the hanger where experts are restoring his newly purchased Hurricane. Why a Hurricane? Because it was the plane that really won the Battle of Britain after all. The tale then gives a little history of the Hurricane in question, then the owner digs a bit deeper, leading us to the reveal of our hero at an airfield near Stalingrad during the Great Patriotic War in the final panel.

You can tell that this is a labour of love for the creative team. Garth Ennis has written the section where the Falcons are flying over Stalingrad with a startling similarity to Tom Tully’s original style. Similar, but not exactly the same (Yep, I checked out my old Battle Annuals, just to make sure). It’s obviously catering for a more sophisticated era. I can’t wait to read more of his take on Johnny, our hero with a shady past.

Keith Burns is a recognized aviation artist and a member of GAVA (Guild of Aviation Artists) the premier society for the promotion of aviation art. He has also worked with Garth Ennis before on Castles in the Sky and The Boys, and his style here is a perfect echo of what Joe Colquhoun was doing with the strip in the early days. It’s gritty and fits wonderfully well with Ennis’s story building. Oh and his representation of the aircraft is sublime. The dynamism of the aerial battle is startling. I haven’t seen this attention to detail since the good old days of Battle and Warlord, and my memory might be failing me on their quality.

I’m like Tony Iverson, the millionaire owner of the Hurricane. I want to know more about the history of the aircraft, but more than that, I want to know what happened to Johnny and his Falcons over Russia. Bravo Mr Ennis and Mr Burns.

Rating: 5/5.

[Click to Enlarge]

The writer of this piece was: John Wallace
John Tweets from @jmwdaredevil.

1 Comment on Review – Johnny Red #1 (of 8) (Titan Comics)

  1. Really looking forward to this one. Good review!

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. BCP Interview – Garth Ennis and Keith Burns talk JOHNNY RED! | BIG COMIC PAGE

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