Comicsphere: Red/Tokyo Storm Warning by Warren Ellis
This set of two works collected back-to-back presents two very different types of work which can be read in one sitting and work the palate to a nice effect. They are both lean just because of the dictates of the format that they were originally produced in and the number of pages that allows the writer (not to suggest that the format wasn’t carefully chosen of course, we are after all talking of Mr Ellis), but Red seemed to me to be the more complete story. Of the two Red was my favourite — it powered along and there was a real warmth to the character’s interactions; before he is reactivated Paul Moses could just be your regular guy. When I say it seems more complete I mean purely that to expand it you would have to delve into the back story which you can sense bristling under the surface, nestled in the shared history of every government assassin ever heard of and some not heard of. There is a great page in the story where we are given panels through a gun sight that hint at Moses involvement in some pretty high profile cases. It is all we need. I am not saying that I wouldn’t relish the chance to travel further with the character but it is not necessary for understanding this particular episode. So, Tokyo Storm Warning, why did it come in in second place? At least as far as I was concerned. Well, for all the attraction of a story about huge robots in Japan filtered through the twisted sensibilities of Mr Ellis, it seems that this could have done with being given more room to breathe. When it was wrapped up it felt a bit tacked on — something smart to to re-frame what is basically big robots and monsters smashing the crap out of each other. This feeling is not something I have come across with Ellis, not to say that it vastly detracts from a big dumb smash up, but the ending hints at a different story I might have been even more interested in reading. Can’t love everything — I did love Red, and Tokyo Storm Warning was enjoyable enough. I got this for next to nothing on Amazon and Ellis always gives you more bang for your buck than most so this was definitely worth the moolah I dished out.