|Cover by David Aja|
Red Skull: Incarnate #3 (September 5, 2011)
Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: Mirko Colak
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
So far, the Red Skull: Incarnate series has been one of my favorite discoveries and just one of my favorite comic book runs in general. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Pak’s work in crafting a compelling, disturbing and fresh storyline starring a decidedly awful person. He’s definitely one of my favorite writers and I’m looking forward to reading more of his work.
That being said, I found Red Skull: Incarnate #3 rather lackluster. After loving the first two, I just assumed this issue would be just as strong and gripping. Instead, it seemed more like filler in between the deeply influential events of the last issue and, based on the implications of #3’s ending, the steps towards Red Skull’s emergence.
While I am enjoying witnessing the minute moments in Johann Schmidt's life that arguably influence his later life as Red Skull, I just felt that Pak did not provide the punch to the gut that he had in the earlier issues. While Pak never made Schmidt sympathetic necessarily, he at least made him compelling and dynamic. In this issue, however, he was sort of one-dimensional: just plain evil. I understand that as a crazy Nazi, Red Skull is one of the most straightforward comic book villains out there: he’s evil, that’s it. But one of the strengths of this series has been the fact that Schmidt was, at the end of the day, very human and realistic rather than flat.
One of the other things that threw me about this comic was Colak’s art. For the most part, I think it’s great and fits the storyline. Every once in a while, however, his renditions of expressions on characters’ faces were just ridiculous. There were times when I almost started laughing at a particularly over the top and silly expression on Schmidt’s face in a decidedly unfunny moment. It was distracting.
I thoroughly hope that the next issue propels straight into a new and gripping chapter in Schmidt’s history. I am still such a fan of this series that I can’t help but assume that this issue is an anomaly and simply a calm before the stormThis issue maintained the violence and profound corruption plaguing 1930s Germany that played such integral roles in the previous issues. While this is important and definitely well crafted on Pak’s part, at this point, it’s nothing I haven’t seen already. I rather felt like I was re-reading something instead of experiencing a new storyline. .