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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover



Author: Warren Ellis
Artist: Cully Hamner
Titan Books
RRP: £10.99, US $14.99
ISBN: 978 1 84856 293 6
Available 24 July 2009

Paul Moses was quietly retired - until his former employers decided he was too dangerous to live. But while the CIA might have forgotten his training... Moses hasn't. When a kill team interrupts his solitude, he changes his status from green to red. As the bodies pile up, the men who set this ruthless killer back into action sit safe in their Langley offices. At least, that's their intention. Moses has a different plan...

Red... now how can I put this delicately?... feels a little too short to warrant the graphic novel treatment, not to mention a price tag of £11. How short a tale? Well, the above synopsis is pretty much the entire story and not simply there to set the scene and build up events that have yet to unfold.

When you boil this down it's only three comic books worth of material but with extensive padding. But I didn't know this when I started reading, so I got halfway through this graphic novel only to be confronted with a sketch gallery. Yes, the story was over and we had the final half of the graphic novel filled with the script, rough layouts and inked illustrations for each page of part one.

I don't generally read these when we get the odd page in other graphic novels as an extra, so for 50% of this release to be presented in this way left me feeling more than a little cheated.

The story is pretty straight forward and bares more than a passing resemblance to movies like First Blood. As a C.I.A. operative, Paul Moses’ unique talent for killing took him around the world, from one hotspot to another, carrying out the deadly orders of his superiors. And when he retired, he wanted to put his bloody past behind him. But when a new administration takes over the White House, the powers that be decide that Moses knows too much, forcing him back into the game against the agency that trained him.

Short and sweet, but the over the top price tag and ridiculous padding make this one graphic novel to avoid like the plague. You'd be better off trying to track down the original comic book releases.


Nick Smithson

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