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Excellent storytelling and a fantastic first issue.

Comic Books

Redlands #1 Review: A suspenseful and haunting first issue

Excellent storytelling and a fantastic first issue.

If you’re a big horror fan, you gotta be reading comics. With stories like Harrow County and Wytches stirring up imaginations and nightmares, comics have been a great source of horror for some time now. Image Comics is a great place to find it, with Winnebago Graveyard being a highlight. We recently spoke with Redlands creators Jordie Bellaire and Vanesa R. Del Rey and we couldn’t be more pumped for this series.

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So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

A brand-new horror book from the minds of Eisner Award-winner JORDIE BELLAIRE (PRETTY DEADLY, Vision, Batman) and critically acclaimed artist VANESA R. DEL REY (ZERO, Scarlet Witch, Constantine) brings you to the sleepy, sunny town of Redlands, Florida. The police are failing to maintain control of their old-fashioned town, and a coven of killer witches plan to take everything from them. This summer, hide your bibles.

Why does this matter?

Straight up, this comic drops you right into the thick of things and makes you play catch up in the best of ways. This issue feels very much like the first 10 minutes of a great show (think X-Files) and it grabs you from the get go.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Excellent storytelling and a fantastic first issue.
Not a good sign guys!

Like I said, this issue opens with a bang and doesn’t let up. In a stroke of genius plotting, Bellaire and Del Rey open the issue with a burning tree. Cops are hiding with guns at the ready and it’s up to the reader to figure out what the problem is for these folks living in 1977 Florida. The story doesn’t waste time dropping some scary gore, creepy imagery, and bloody good vengeance. It’s an opening salvo that’ll make you want more because it’s just getting started. It’s also a great first issue because the way it’s set up you’re playing catch up so that when the cliffhanger drops you won’t know what could happen next. In a good way.

Del Rey draws some freaky stuff in this issue with some demonic things here and there, some wicked fire (boy does it burn), and some great sound effects integrated into scenes. This is a gritty style (that pops at times with figures almost copy pasted into scenes, creating a surreal experience) that serves to showcase the despicable characters in the proper light. In an interesting scene amongst the jailed in the police cells, Del Rey draws a stack of people all innocently different, but curiously detailed to imbue a sense of the types the police have brought in. With a panel layered over a panel looking straight on at these folks (with further panels created from the bars of the cell), Del Rey creates a wall of isolation that helps convey that these cops are up to no good. There are visual tricks like this used throughout that begs the reader to give it a second read once they’re finished. In another great scene, the use of red and black ink to create the lines of people’s faces is hauntingly good stuff.

Excellent storytelling and a fantastic first issue.
Yup, these guys suck.

It can’t be perfect can it?

Some might be impatient with the (I think) main characters’ introductions. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but by the end of the issue you might be wondering if issue #2 is more of the introduction of many things whereas this issue is more of an awesome opening 10 minutes of a show.

Is It Good?

It opens like some of the best TV shows ever, keeping you in suspense and forcing the reader to figure things out. It’s excellent storytelling and a fantastic first issue.

Redlands #1
Is it good?
Suspenseful and scary, this is a great first issue.
Like the best first 10 minutes of your favorite show
Suspenseful and scary, it'll draw you in
Art is gritty and visually stunning
By the end it's almost like a great first scene, but not a whole first episode

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