REVIEW: Johnny Red #2

WRITER: Garth Ennis
ARTIST: Keith Burns
PUBLISHER: Titan Comics

Issue two of this wartime series from Titan Comics, give us more history and origins around the titular hero.  It is a tale of opportunities taken and lost, about Johnny finding something that he didn’t know he’d lost.

The format of the story remains that same as last issue, the present serving as introduction into to the past.  It’s not a particularly new trick, but does serve it’s purpose well.  As the story goes, we spend more time in  the past than last issue.  That doesn’t mean the book is any less wordy.  On the contrary, after a slow start,  Garth Ennis’ verbosity makes a return.

Ennis produces a script in such a manner that you can’t help but get drawn in.  The characters initially come across a tad stereotypical, but not in such a way to become distracting.  Indeed some of the situations in the book also have an air of expectancy, but it’s done with such grace that you can forgive this on the odd occasions it occurs.  johnny2

Some would argue that the star of the book is the art by Keith Burns and it would be hard to disagree.  Burns, whose love of aircraft and his skills at drawing them was mentioned in the issue one review, is clearly in his element.  The fighter plane scenes are great; details shine through.  But it is not just the planes that stand out.  Panel choice and the action depicted in the panels shows a cinematographers eye for action.  My only concern is how dramatically the change when it comes to face and at times bodies and their movement through a panel seems to be.  The lines are somewhat scratchy and there is a familiar Roy of the Rovers feel to Johnny.  Burns is helped by some great colors from Jason Wordie who manages to convey the cold of Russia very well.

War books aren’t really my think and I was expecting to be bored by this second issue.  However the gusto by which the creators have attacked the book makes for an enjoyable read.

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