It seems like just a few days ago that I was surprised in my local comic shop by the first issue of DC Comics Red Tornado mini-series. At the time, I was pleased with the pacing that the issue had and the cinematic feel that the creative team had accomplished. With this second issue, I eagerly awaited more of the same. Man, I hate it when you get let down so hard.
After finding his sister, Red Torpedo, Red Tornado takes to the sky above Pearl Harbor and is quickly beset by military fighter planes.Â Reluctantly, and at her urging, Tornado drops Torpedo into the water, where she quickly assimilates back to her “element” and confronts the fighters. At Belle Reve, a team of security/construction workers are trying to crack their way through the barrier that Red Volcano has placed around him and his father, the mad scientist T.O. Morrow. While interrogating his “father”, he suddenly realizes that the beacon in his head has stopped. His sister has been discovered. After saving the pilots form said sister, Torpedo tells Tornado that she may have not been trying to kill them, she may have planned on using her powers to lower them to safety.
What follows next is the origin of the Red Torpedo. She tells of how Morrow created her to help him take advantage of the new situation in Europe by staging various robberies for monetary gain. She also tells of how when he wanted her to start stealing weapons, she turned on him and was deactivated for her trouble. Placing her in the torpedo tube at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, Â she was finally able to send out a distress beacon to alert anyone who had the same style brain she did to her location.Â She then tells Tornado how the signal may have been heard by Volcano.
Arriving at Belle Reve, the brother and sister team are attacked by security guards who must have mistaken them for more attackers like Volcano. Using and adaptation of her power, Torpedo manages to manipulate the water in Morrow’s cell to free…well, sorry…no other way to say it. Her attempted use of a power she had been experimenting with before her imprisonment did little more than alert Volcano that they where coming, which causes him to burst through the barrier he created and escape. Tornado and company find their father upside down hanging in a dirt/stone cocoon, where he pops off a smart remark.
Back at Golden Valley High School (Golden Valley, sound familiar?) We see a kid named Seth being picked on my some of the school bullies, who are apparently on the swim team. A little good humored hazing goes as the older boys attempt to drown Seth, who quickly bursts into flame and reveals himself to be Red Inferno, the long lost little brother. Seems he had no knowledge of his android nature, and had believed himself to be completely human. Oh, and look who just happened to be having a violin lesson at the high school today! It’s little Traya Sutton, elementary school student and adopted daughter of Red Tornado. Daddy will wantÂ to know about this! Confused and frightened, Inferno flies off, wondering what is happening to him. But look out, her comes big brother Red Volcano, fresh from his meeting with father!
As you may have been able to tell, I was nowhere near and enamored with this issue as I was the first. While the first had all the cinematic staging and smart writing that made me eager to pick up the second issue, this second issue just did not hit it at all. I honestly thought about skipping this issue and not reviewing it, I was that disappointed. The art is just as good as the first issue but the progression of the main story just fell flat. Red Tornado seemed to have his emotion program on high priority for this issue, because he just did not seem to be thinking straight. Did he forget that he is a member of the Justice League? Sure, you don’t want to drop your team’s name when you are in your own book for the first time in a couple of decades, but would it have hurt to have checked in with the military and let them know that a Justice Leaguer would be in the area on an investigation? Additionally, Belle Reve, the FEDERAL prison for metahumans and mad scientist, is broken into and not a single meta shows up? I understand the title of the mini is Red Tornado but this is the place the SUICIDE SQUAD used to be based out of; your telling me that the League/Titans/Outsider/Inferior Five, somebody, does not have any sort of monitoring system for this place? Heck, at least show The Guardian or some other D Lister standing in the crowd trying to look helpful! Also, I have nothing whatsoever for Red Torpedo; I actually look forward to seeing her turn on Tornado (my predication, how much you want to bet…). The introduction of Red Inferno (with Red Tornado’s adopted daughter present, no less) has been done so many times in mutant-centric books it feels like a cop-out here, even without the convenient witness.
The first issue of this series was so pleasing and felt like the beginning of a real good story, that the let down of this book hits that much harder. The pacing, so well done in the first issue, falls apart here as we jump back and forth between the protagonist and the antagonist and do not have enough time with either. Red Tornado, in my opinion,should have gotten more panel time and Red Volcano should have just shown up when it was time to fight. The best thing about this issue I have to say, is the cover by Ed Benes. It is a version of Michaelangeo’s La PietÃ statue, which has absolutely no connection to the story inside other than the character it depicts. Go figure.
1.5 out of 5 stars. It would have gotten lower, but it did move the story along, no-matter how poorly. With four more issue to go, I have to wonder if there is a chance for redemption? I really hope so, I would hate to wait another twenty-plus years to read the solo adventures of Red Tornado.