Creators Michael Gordon & Francisco Munoz had the first of their Red Winter series picked up by Scout Comics and with more on the way…..I had to take a look.
It follows former NYPD Detective Eli Winter as he gets the call from his employer, Russian crime boss Nikolai Dubrovsky, so it’s fair to say that trading the US for Moscow has taken his life down a riskier road. The work & favours he has traded with Nikolai gives him a certain level of trust and it gets him his latest job but the complications for him are just around the corner following an attack on a local meth lab.
Eli’s Detective head kicks in fairly quickly but the appearance of his estranged son and the revelations of his involvement in the curtain situation are the tip of the iceberg for the problems that are coming his way. The risks come thick & fast and he soon finds himself in the middle of a Russian turf war with both sides eyeing up revenge and things all escalate far quicker than he was expecting when his day started.
Michael’s plot on this is intricate enough to help the surprises hit home as they come to light and with a grizzled New York Detective swaggering his way through Moscow it’s an interesting approach to have the Russian mob relying on an outsider. The sense of history between the characters help with that though and it’s all given a nice weight of expectation among them with that moody art from Francisco (chapters 1-3) & Alberto Massaggia (chapter 4) – highly detailed & capturing the action with a slick mix of facial expressions and panel layouts.
Key to capturing the surroundings and the mood of the scenes is the colouring for Rolands Kalnins which manages to complement both artists amazingly well and maintain the level of consistency through this volume to keep you locked into what’s happening from the first to the last page, plus the choice to throw in some red panels on the more gruesome scenes highlights things well too. Nikki Sherman does a slick job with lettering too as there’s quite a bit of dialogue and some important narration to tackle as part of keeping the story flowing. Kudos to Chris Shehan for that cover work too as it’s the first hook for getting you involved in the story and it manages that and then some.
This first volume of Red Winter is another addition to the “must recommend” list I have in my mental long box and with the story & art managing to capture the Russian atmosphere and clash of personalities so well, it’s got that x factor to spark longevity. Thankfully there’s more on the way and I’m hoping the momentum built here will continue through into the next series.
You can also get hold of this and the first issue of the 2nd series through the campaign link below: