How long is Ennis going to keep Johnny Red going? I assumed it was six issues, but it seems much more like eight at this point.
There’s no moss on this one, no wasted panels. Ennis and Burns have a lot to do. They have a sensational cliffhanger to resolve and then explain. The explanation sequence–the secret policeman laying it all out for Johnny Red and his squadron–is excellent. It’s a lot of history (is it?) and Ennis keeps it lively with some reaction moments for the supporting cast, but, really, he’s giving Burns a lecture to illustrate engagingly.
And Burns succeeds. Just like Burns succeeds later on with the big action sequence. The squadron, reunited with Johnny, trapped behind enemy lines, feels removed from everything around them. They’re in a bubble, which occasionally makes the issue seems a little disconnected, but Ennis has to get through this material. It’s one part of the series’s pay-off (and coming before the final issue is a nice surprise).
I’m hopeful Ennis will land Johnny Red successfully, whenever he gets around to it, issue seven, eight, or twelve. But I’m not worried at all about Burns. Again, on the ground, he manages to impress more than he ever did in the air.
The Iron Man; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Keith Burns; colorist, Jason Wordie; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jess Burton and Steve White; publisher, Titan Comics.