NYCC 2012 Interview: Garth Ennis Launches Dynamite's Crime Line With 'Red Team'

It's writer Garth Ennis' big news for New York Comic Con, and it got broken early: the prolific writer will be launching Dynamite's new crime line with "Red Team." In the comic, a group of elite New York Police Officers decide to murder a suspect...and then things get way worse. To find out more, we chatted with Ennis' about the title, as well as the launch of the line:

MTV Geek: So who is "Red Team"? How’d they get the name, and what are they all about?

Garth Ennis: "Red Team" is made up four individuals, all highly motivated, highly intelligent NYPD plain clothes officers. They primarily handle narcotics and related homicides, and therefore gangs. Their job is to disrupt the drug trade in New York's grimmest neighbourhoods through surveillance, amassing evidence, building watertight cases. Occasionally they might cut a few corners, but they cover themselves well and nothing ever rebounds on them in court, and it is- after all-in a good cause. Of course, putting intelligent and motivated people in a situation where they daily come face to face with the worst of the worst... well, that can create its own problems. They might just start to draw their own conclusions about how best the job might be done. Especially when they're not even that certain about the Department that's backing them up.

Geek: I’d imagine as a cop, you have to be pushed pretty far to murder a suspect. Are they protecting the innocent here, or themselves?

GE: Seeing very bad people escape the law again and again results in a certain level of frustration, which may in turn lead to drastic solutions being taken. This is a story about the kinds of things police officers never, ever talk about openly- the kinds of things that just happen, and then afterwards exist only as vague rumours.

Geek: The logline is that “the worst possible things that could happen... happens!” Here’s the thing, Garth: you’re probably the number one writer of “awful things happening” in the comic book industry; so are we talking about worst possible thing for the characters, like someone finds out? Or worst possible thing like their genitals invert and start slowly burrowing towards their brains?

GE: The former.

Geek: Okay, fair enough! Your work as also always been characterized by an intense amount of detail and research... How much have you immersed yourself in the NYPD before getting into this book?

GE: A certain degree. But there comes a point in a story like this where you have to take that left turn into fiction. There's no doubt in my mind that things like this have happened in nearly every police force in the world, but they're very rarely documented.

Geek: Who are the members of "Red Team" we should be keeping our eyes on?

GE: Eddie Mellinger and Trudy Giroux are our storytellers, each episode is told from one or other of their points of view. They're the younger ones, both slightly idealistic in their own way. Trudy's a little more certain of herself, Eddie more conflicted. Duke Wylie and George Winburn, on the other hand, are about as old-school as it gets. They're the founding members of the unit, both with a very strong sense of purpose.

Geek: Can you talk about Craig Cernak’s art? What does he bring to the project?

GE: I was immediately impressed by Craig's work when Nicky Barrucci and Joe Rybandt showed it to me: a nice, crisp, well-defined line, clear storytelling, good characterisation. All the things I look for in an artist, giving me the reassurance that he can tell the story without any narrative problems. I'm sure he can tell you his own influences better than I can, but in regards to the points I've made I see him as being in the tradition of guys I've worked with like Steve Dillon and Russ Braun. Story above all, in other words.

Geek: More generally, this is leading off a new Crime Line at Dynamite... How does "Red Team" fit in? And once these seven issues are over, will you be contributing more books to the line?

GE: Going to wait and see on that one.

Geek: Any final thoughts? Teases to get fans to check out "Red Team"?

GE: "Red Team" is a story -- I hope -- in the tradition of TV shows like The Wire and The Shield. It doesn't have the sheer meticulousness of the former (what could?) or the horrific corruption of the latter (at least not in terms of personal corruption) but I like to think it's in that world.

"Red Team" gets down and dirty soon from Dynamite Comics.