Comic Review: Shanghai Red #1 (Image)

Oh, Shanghai Red, it’s a kick in the head. Okay, I made that up, but it rhymes. And this Image book’s first issue really does kickstart things! 1800’s, Portland Oregon […]

Oh, Shanghai Red, it’s a kick in the head. Okay, I made that up, but it rhymes. And this Image book’s first issue really does kickstart things!

1800’s, Portland Oregon USA. It’s the time of ships. Wooden ships, with ghastly tales of crews being coerced into serving aboard. Imagine leaving a tavern, feeling pretty good, getting whacked on the head, and waking up in the hold of a ship. Slave labor, essentially. And after a period of time, being offered a full-time job, one with pay, with food, and a place to sleep onboard. Either take it or get kicked off the ship in the middle of nowhere. What would you do?

Shanghai Red, written by Christopher Sebela, and illustrated by Joshua Hixson, tells the tale of Red, a tough young female, disguised as a man, who has been shanghaied. But after 3 years of captivity and beatings, it’s time for mutiny, and a time to give payback to those who have wronged her.

This is a compelling comic. Writer Sebela and artist Hixson combine forces well here; the story is dramatic, the flow is logical. Surprises and twists abound, but the beats fall when they should: you want ‘the other shoe to fall’ as they say. The narrative moves progressively, and it keeps us involved and interested. There are plenty of panels per page, so you are getting lots for your money. The art is nicely styled for a sea story; lots of darks, great coloring, and an intelligent emphasis on developing the drama. A winner!

Image Comics, Shanghai Red #1, $3.99 for 32 pages of content: Rated Teen +

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!