Shanghai Red #2
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Joshua Hixson
The first issue of Shanghai Red successfully established an atmospheric tale of revenge. The reader was introduced to Red, who was shanghaied for years before finally initiating her plan for revenge. While the first issue was a fast and exciting start to the series, Shanghai Red #2 allows the reader to get to know Red while she begins the hunt for those who wronged her.
Shanghai Red #2 carries a certain intensity with it that feels different than the previous issue. If each episode had its own theme, the first one would absolutely be “wrath,” while issue two has a sort of somber feel to it. It’s just as brutal as the previous issue, but the whole affair is sad. The reader get’s to know a different Red, making the character much more dynamic while keeping the story feel more than just a generic “Protagonist kills everyone” story.
Shanghai Red is just as much about the titular character as it is about the revenge. Christopher Sebela has a remarkable touch for fleshing out his characters. The victims of Red’s revenge also feel like humans instead of generic devices to progress the plot. This issue is full of cruelty and a lack of remorse from its characters, establishing how heartless the world is while keeping everyone interesting.
Hixon’s art continues to match the narrative of the series, with a gritty style that completes the tone that the creative team is going for. While the issue uses fairly simple panel layouts, each layout is full of detail and essential touches that are both attractive and grotesque. The facial expressions are full of emotion, especially Red’s at the beginning of the issue.
The issue’s use of color is as simple as the series debut’s but just as effective. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou uses intense reds that are offset by melancholy blues and purples. This color scheme works well whether the story takes place indoors or outdoors. Most interior settings have dim lighting, making for a necessary accent to the events taking place.
Shanghai Red #2 is another dark issue, and while it doesn’t quite live up to the expectations set by the series debut, it’s still an intense ride. It’s lacking in the first issue’s excitement, but it effectively builds up the compelling story.
Shanghai Red #2
Shanghai Red #2 is emotional, ruthless, and simply entertaining.