Tuesday, July 16, 2013

QUICK REVIEW: Red Dragon #1 (Comico, 1996)

YOU'D think a comic written by the great Brian Azzarello, with interior art by Tony Akins and a blockbuster cover by Simon Bisley would be an awesome read. And you'd be utterly wrong.
Red Dragon is just about the worst piece of shit I've read this year. Admittedly, this came out in the dying days of Comico, a great indy company in the 1980s - home to the intelligent superhero/horror series Elementals, plus Mage, Grendel and Robotech - that went bankrupt in 1990. Sadly, byy 1996, it had degenerated under new ownership into a sub-Image (y'know, anguished antiheroes, big guns, improbable outfits and physiques, gritted teeth), T&A-oriented line, mainly living off various Elementals one-shots, like the tawdry Elementals Sex Specials.
In 1996, there was a flurry of activity and a bunch of new titles were promised to the comics-buying public. One of them was Red Dragon, which I bought the other day on a whim for a buck. God, I wish I hadn't.
From what I can tell from the poorly written plot, it's a tale of a dragon god, brainwashed by them godless Chinese commies to be some kinda Oriental Superman. On his first mission, he violently beats up a psychotic gang of bank robbers, causing the death of all the innocent hostages in the process. It's dumb, cartoonishly violent (which takes away from the seriousness of the shit going down) and has no likeable characters whatsoever. Red Dragon is brutal, arrogant and an all-round dick. There's also a glaring plot hole that Azzarello just ignores at the end of the issue. Never has a second issue felt so unwanted and, luckily, Comico went belly-up before it could think about producing a No. 2 (although No. 1 is a pretty big number too already).
To be fair to Azzarello, this was one of his first writing jobs. He's gone on to bigger and better things.

Of equal amusement to the appalling main story are the various T&A-filled ads for upcoming Comico releases, some of which may (or may not) have seen the light of the day. The funniest of the lot is the ad for Bathory (below).

Seriously, have you ever seen a more PORNO comic book ad in your life? I think not. It'd be fucking hilarious if it wasn't kinda sad. It's depressing how far Comico went downhill in its last few years.

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