REDHEAD #4 – Hard to believe this is from John Carpenter

Redhead #4 - Published by John Carpenter

Latest Redhead Instalment

John Carpenter’s Tales Of Science Fiction reaches issue 4 of 5 of Redhead. The series , created by Carpenter and Sandy King, is written by Duane Swierczynski with art by Jason Felix, has a very red variant cover by Tim Bradstreet.

  • 10%
    Awesomeness - 10%
  • 5%
    Plot - 5%
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    Characters - 5%
  • 5%
    Tone - 5%


John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: REDHEAD #4

Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Jason Felix
Letterer: Janice Chiang

Redhead #4 is pretty much by the numbers and fills the space between the pages with gratuitous and childish violence and gore that really does nothing to further the story in any way

Tales of Science Fiction is the anthology title from Storm King, and the current storyline Redhead follows the somewhat disturbing story of Marnie Young, who finds herself hospitalised after a seizure. When she awakes though, there has been a massacre land it looks like she is the cause.

By issue 4, Marnie is trapped in an undisclosed military location, outside San Diego, so not that undisclosed, and the haz mat wearing staff are trying to determine her “Toxicity Radius”. Seems Marnie is pretty much lethal to anyone that gets too close to her and as you would expect, it appears that the military are thinking about using her as a weapon. Strange they left her with her mobile phone though.

Smells like Scanners

Marnie decides that it may be time to get control of her Scanner like powers, and embarks on a killing spree before attempting an escape from the base.

Redhead is a concept that many of us may have seen before. Super powered troubled outsider brought to the attention of the military who want her as a weapon , has been done in various different ways over the years. Unfortunately in Redhead there is really nothing new here for us to enjoy.

Marnie is almost unlikable, with dialogue that makes her seem annoying. On the splash page, all sense of drama about her being captured is lost with her saying “At the very least will you send someone to feed my cat?” Perhaps this is a character trait of Marnie, to joke in times of danger, but when a lab rabbit is brought into her radius to see her powers in action she quips “Please don’t. I’ve already been through this. I murdered a bunch of innocent cockroaches.”

As Marnie’s powers increase and she very graphically murders everyone in sight, there is very little to endear us to her situation.

There seems at this point to be no stakes, as Marnie is now just a killing machine, and she also seems to have no regard for the mountain of bodies falling at her feet, more worried about the lab rabbit than the innocent people she has murdered.

The mindless spree continues until the end of the issue when we are promised a conclusion in issue 5.

Unfortunately, for me, Redhead is a lumbering slog of a comic that tries very hard to present the lead as a funny quip filled protagonist but instead presents us with a vicious murderous mean girl that has no trouble whatsoever with the mass murder of innocent people.

General Redhead Thoughts

Super powered characters can work in this sort of setting, if we are actually made to care for them, but at no point here are we concerned for Marnie, or made to question her own violent attacks. I feel that Marnie seems not to care about the absolutely horrific massacre of the military staff, and in fact revels in it. Sure they are the bad guys, but all that head exploding action would surely merit some kind of PTSD ? Well not for Marnie, she merrily goes about her business right through to the last page.

As far as the art goes, it’s also a miss for me. The photo realistic style is unconvincing and strangely dated. It reminds me of early attempts of computer art in comics, and a lot of the problems are in the stilted action sequences and odd facial expressions on the cast. Everything looks copied and traced from other images. People look posed and awkward and nothing flows, breathes or looks natural.

Redhead 4 is pretty much by the numbers and fills the space between the pages with gratuitous and childish violence and gore that really does nothing to further the story in any way. The lead is so difficult to identify with that you are simply left with an empty feeling, neither caring or curious about where the story will end.

Think I will pass on issue 5.