When Red Team launched in 2014, many folks (us included) considered it one of Garth Ennis’ best works. When you consider we are talking about the guy who wrote Preacher, The Boys, and Punisher MAX, you realize the weight of that statement. Ennis and artist Craig Cermak’s Red Team is a brilliant crime thriller that follows a group of cops who begin to push the boundaries of what exactly it means to “serve and protect.” It’s gritty, violent, and filled with engaging, complex characters. It’s exactly the sort of thing of we expect from Garth Ennis.
Given how amazing that series is, we’re beyond excited that Dynamite Entertainment has announced a sequel. Red Team: Double Tap, Centre Mass follows the survivors of the massacre at the end of Red Team and promises all the crime, drama, and violence we loved about the first series. Ennis and Cermak are both back and ready to dive head first back into the mean streets of New York City. We were fortunate enough to have a talk with Garth Ennis about the upcoming series and what fans of the original can expect. Check out our conversation below.
Nerdist: Did you always plan to return to these characters?
Garth Ennis: I figured out about halfway through the first series that there was more life in the characters. Eddie and Trudy are two of my favorites.
N: The first series dealt with some pretty heavy moral questions, whether or not the actions of the characters were justified. Is that sort of moral ambiguity still a part of the story?
GE: Very much so. Our heroes find themselves in a situation that requires them to step outside the law if they’re going to succeed–not as simply as the first time around, but in a more twisted and complex way. This leads to them facing some pretty scary questions about themselves and their motives. It’s one thing to murder the irredeemably evil; it’s quite another to risk the lives of innocents.
Nerdist: There’s a real authenticity to Red Team. It feels like New York City and it feel a like a real police story. Did you do research for it? Or did you just watch a bunch of Law & Order?
GE: No, I haven’t seen Law & Order in years. The Chris Noth days back in the ’90s, I think. I did a good deal of research for both series. Helps that I live here, too.
Nerdist: I think one thing a lot of fans of your work were surprised by with Red Team was how grounded and concentrated the story was. What made you want to write a series like Red Team?
GE: I liked the idea of cops crossing the line- but in a very controlled and careful way. Not getting greedy and pulling a heist, not making one awful mistake and then covering it up, but actually thinking in terms of taking action to punish wrongdoers and disrupt organized crime. I wanted the team to be an elite unit, not just as a bunch of tough guys but as four highly intelligent people who would use all their skills to do what had to be done.
N: Craig Cermak did some bloody (literally) brilliant work on the first Red Team. You excited to be working with him again?
GE: Absolutely. One of the very best I’ve worked with. Storytelling, character, action, emotion–he gets it all exactly right.
N: It seems like everything you have written is being turned into a TV series lately. Red Team is a no-brainer, right? Can we expect an announcement that an HBO series is in the works?
GE: That would be very nice and there certainly has been some interest; it’s one of a number of dominoes I’m hoping will fall in the wake of Preacher. But Preacher‘s success is by no means guaranteed at this point, so I’m very much in wait-and-see mode. I’m pretty cautious in that regard- I don’t believe it ’til I’m watching it, and I don’t spend money I don’t have.
N: If somebody missed the first Red Team, can they jump right into Double Tap, Centre Mass? How closely are the stories tied together?
GE: One follows the other. You can jump right in and enjoy the second one regardless, or you can pick up the first one and it’ll add a few layers to what you’re reading.
N: Can we expect more Red Team stuff in the future, or is this it for now?
GE: This is it for now. If something decent occurs I’ll act on it, but I love the two lead characters and I don’t want to do them a disservice by knocking something out just for the sake of it.
Check out some preview pages of Red Team: Double Tap, Centre Mass below and keep an eye out for the first issue of series when it launches this summer.