Publisher: Titan Comics
Story: Garth Ennis
Art: Keith Burns
Release Date: 3rd February, 2016
Issue four begins in the aftermath of the destruction of Nina’s squadron with Johnny waking from a nightmare and Nina looking for answers to why her “Witches” were left out to dry. It also takes us far over enemy lines as Nina and Johnny look to save the “Falcons”.
Ennis shows his mastery of the comic writing craft with this issue. He has to, just to make sure that we all remain interested throughout what is ostensibly a “set up” issue. He pauses and takes breath whilst at the same time he builds tension wonderfully, laying the groundwork for future issues. The promise of action in the next issue is mouth-watering. It also occurs to me that it takes a confidence lacking in many writers to not drop in some spurious action just to make an issue zing. Ennis eschews the action for the betterment of the overall story arc and I am glad that he has.
Just look at the first five pages of the comic, He and Keith Burns eat up 5 pages just with Johnny’s nightmare. Just filler? Not at all, it allows the reader to understand Nina’s fear of rebuilding her squadron. However, five page is maybe just a little bit on the lengthy side and it does feel that the creative team are marking time to ensure the next issue starts the way they want it, with a bang (It had better start with a bang now or in a month I am going to look a little foolish).
I think one of the best things that Ennis has done in this and the previous issue is give us a NKVD (secret police) officer who isn’t your usual stereotypical caricature. I actually want to know more about this guy and I hope we learn more of his story as this one progresses.
Now for Mr Burns. His figure work is still wonderfully gritty and reminiscent of the comics of my youth and I just can’t stop gazing in wonder at the wonderfully drawn aeroplanes that this man was born to draw. It’s a pure joy.
For the first issue since the series began, I have a niggle. I understand why the dream sequence lasted as long as it did, but it distracted me.
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If you want to find out more about Johnny Red, make sure to check out our interview with Garth Ennis and Keith Burns by CLICKING HERE.
The writer of this piece was: John Wallace
John Tweets from @jmwdaredevil.