When it comes to comics, I appreciate a good superteam fan: X-Men. Justice League. Avengers. Honor Guard. When I saw the concept for Tyler James’ book, The Red Ten, I was intrigued – it was a superteam, with new heroes to discover. Cool. But then I saw the twist: it’s a superhero murder mystery.
You see, Tyler James is influenced by Agatha Christie’s book, Ten Little Indians (also known as And Then There Were None). You never read it? Pause right here. Go to a library, get the book, and read it. I’ll wait. Seriously, go.
For those of you who haven’t read Ten Little Indians, it’s a great concept. So great, in fact, that horror movies have ripped off the basic premise for years – ten people are invited to a deserted location by a mysterious stranger, and go missing. One by one. And that’s what we’ve got happening here in Red Ten, which will run for ten issues. Are we going to see ten superheroes killed off? As James writes in his note to readers, “I’m never gonna get to kill the Justice League… But in the indie world, there are no rules. So let’s have some fun, shall we?”
The first issue spends most of its time introducing us to The Alliance, a superteam put together by a megacorp head who presents the team much like an Apple exec would introduce the latest iPhone. There are ten heroes, with superpowers ranging from invulnerability to hydrokinesis. And one person is watching this superteam – someone who claims to know their secrets. Oxymoron, a villain obsessed with contradiction, is gunning for the heroes, most likely because they have some pretty unheroic secrets in their closets, making them a bunch of walking contradictions.
The art is good – its solid superhero art, and Oxymoron is interesting. He screams Joker to me, but I like that – it gives me an anchor, it gives me an idea of what I’m working with here. I appreciate a good psychopath, especially if this is going to play out the way I think it’s going to play out. The writing is mostly character description at this point, but I like the idea of a corporate-sponsored superteam. It makes it all seem so manufactured, so bloodlessly packaged, that you sit here, nod, and say, “of course”. Because really, in this day and age, who would be surprised to see Superman fly by with a Virgin Airlines patch on his cape, like a NASCAR driver? Oxymoron’s inner dialogue intrigues me, and with his spinoff series hitting alongside Red Ten (more on that in another post),
The Red Ten is available through Comixology. Issues 0-3 are already up; issue 0 is free (thank you, Free Comic Book Day!), issue 1 is available for 99 cents, and issues 2 and 3 are $1.99 each. It’s a great deal for what promises to be a good series – I’m going to settle in with a nice cup of coffee and download the other issues shortly, myself.
THE RED TEN
Writer: Tyler James
Artist: Cesar Feliciano, Tyler James, Jonathan Rector, Aaron Houston, Erik Reeves, Dave Myers, Rafer Roberts, Philip Dunne, Carl Yonder, Alex Cormack, Jules Rivera
Pub Date: Available through Comixology