Wednesday, 26 September 2012

So I Read The Red Wing

A 250 word (or less) review of the red wing graphic novel by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra, Image Comics

The Red Wing is Jonathon Hickman's second time travel story. This time he creates a universe where, due to the non-linear nature of time, there can be no paradoxes. It is, in the Hickman tradition, a fearsomely smart comic. In The Red Wing, a future human civilization is fighting a desperate war through time against time-traveling marauders who are systematically strip mining the past for resources. Combat in this war is conducted in TAC fighters, time machine fighter planes, which engage in dogfights across centuries. (These battles are gorgeously and innovatively rendered by Nick Pitarra, and are pretty spectacular.) The comic focuses on Robert Dorne a TAC pilot who gets stranded in the past and is desperate to return home, and Dominic Dorne, his cadet TAC pilot son who wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. The Red Wing, despite having kind of a traditional take on a time travel narrative, is thematically rich and complex. The central theme of The Red Wing is history as an Ouroborus (a snake eating its own tail) in that it is cyclical and ultimately doomed to repeat itself.1 Hickman also uses time travel in some thematically interesting ways: as a device for nostalgia (to literally travel back to an idealized past) and as a device for avenging past wrongs. The Red Wing is a challenging book that requires the reader figure out the finer details of the narrative. If you invest some time and figuring it out, it’s a pretty rewarding story.

Word count: 249

1: Also time-travelling marauders who consume the past which in a linear model of time would destroy their origin point…

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