Jonathan Hickman has become one of Marvel’s foremost writers. He is no stranger to time travel and abstract ideals, having practiced plenty with his work on Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Bringing his carefully honed skills to The Red Wing, readers are privy to an engaging science fiction story. Hickman teams with new talent Nick Pitarra and Image Comics to publish an exciting four issue mini-series called The Red Wing.
The Red Wing
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Nick Pitarra with Rachelle Rosenberg
Publisher: Image Comics
Time travel is one of those concepts that some stories just can’t seem to get right. Many theories are different regarding time travel. Whether it is linear, stacks, or changes every instant, it is not something easily explained. Jonathan Hickman decides to take time travel as his plot device and runs with it for an entertaining story in The Red Wing. The Red Wing follows two different views, and merges them into one (time travel FTW). One follows a struggling son, who enlists as a pilot to fight in a war against a future enemy that aims to wipe out existence. The other follows his father, who is lost in time, and biding his time to get back to his son and be with his family once again.
One of writer Jonathan Hickman’s greatest strengths is his commitment to an idea. The Red Wing involves future technology, time travel, and many uncommon concepts. Hickman has a great understanding of the ideas he wants to portray, and really brings that with The Red Wing. How would we travel through time in the future? Hickman’s got an idea. All of those science fiction stories and shows that involve confusing time travel theories? Hickman simplifies it just a bit more.
This isn’t the only writing strength of The Red Wing, though. Hickman propels this story through a lot of human emotion. He does a great job of showcasing the different personalities in every character, and uses their motivations to really drive the story. I hate comparing writers, but Joss Whedon is one of the top in his class when developing characters, and Hickman takes a page out his book. Hickman also takes some very real human ideals like war and family, and even a little bit of evolution, and explores them in a very classy and engaging manner.
Artist Nick Pitarra is new to the comics industry, but comes with a lot of praise from publisher Image Comics. Naming him among some of the best new talent of the year, Pitarra comes out flying in the pages of The Red Wing. Being a story that involves a lot of time travel, a lot of locale changes just comes with the territory. From space battles to coasting through prehistoric times, it can be a challenging task for any artist to be able to jump so much. It seems like this difficult task is actually one of the strengths of artist Pitarra, who can change environments seamlessly. Pitarra must have also done his research when it came to flying, because the angles and views he chose for his aerial scenes are done with ease. Foremost among Pitarra’s skills is that he really brings a lot of life to every panel. His characters show a ton of emotion, and no detail is skipped.
The Red Wing is a really well rounded science fiction story. While reading, you enjoy seeing your main characters grow, and root for them the whole time. Even though it drips with science fiction, some very realistic ideas are explored. In this case, Hickman delves into the idea and emotion behind war. He also adds in some nice character moments with the father/son dynamic. Artist Nick Pitarra is the perfect compliment to Hickman’s writing. Hickman is very detailed and versed in the concepts he writes about, and Pitarra puts just as much effort into his art. Every panel drips with detail, and every time a human is shown there is absolutely no lack of emotion in face or pose. The Red Wing is not your typical superhero book, but is definitely worth the read. If you enjoy time travel and science fiction, or a very character driven story, then this is for you.