Wednesday, 22 March 2017
Red Skull: Incarnate Review (Greg Pak, Mirko Colak)
Red Skull: Incarnate is the story of how Johann Schmidt, the Red Skull, came to be involved with the Nazis. Starting in 1923 with Hitler’s failed Beerhall Putsch, we follow Johann’s brutal young life through the hyperinflation of the 1920s to the Nazis’ increasing violence against the Jews and rival parties culminating in the burning of the Reichstag and Hitler’s rise to Fuhrer – with Johann at his side.
David Aja’s incredible covers are what attracted me to this book which turned out to be… just ok. Book covers and judging, eh? Though considering Greg Pak wrote it, that’s pretty amazing!
Johann’s story isn’t that remarkable to begin with – he escapes a miserable orphanage into a rough, violent life on the streets, living a more adult Oliver Twist-esque existence. It only really gets good towards the end with his plan to get into Hitler’s inner circle and onto the path where he will become the Red Skull (we don’t see the physical transformation here).
For the most part it reads like Marvel doing high school history in a truncated fashion for those who never took it. I studied this era of history for a while so I’m very familiar with the subject which is probably why I wasn’t as engrossed in reading it. That and Mirko Colak’s capable but unimpressive art left me feeling that Red Skull: Incarnate, while decent, wasn’t that special a comic. Which is disappointing as I was hoping for a more interesting supervillain origin for one of Marvel’s most evil characters.