Garth Ennis talks Red Team: Double Tap, Central Mass #3, on sale in September from Dynamite. Cover by Dan Panosian.
GARTH ENNIS: It's a more tightly-focused, intimate story with one crime and its after-effects taking us right through the narrative. It doesn't cast as wide a net as the first series, there isn't the same vigilante approach to all crime and criminals. And it's much more concerned with Trudy and Eddie, and their relationship.
BB: How closely do you and Craig Cermak work together on the book? Everything seems so taught and gripping as far as plot to art go, one would think it was being done by a writer/artist like Matt Wagner rather than two people.
GE: I work with Craig the same way I do with all my favorite artists — I check each page at every stage, layouts to pencils to inks, just to make sure that all aspects of the story are properly covered. Pretty easy in Craig's case, he goes wrong once in a blue moon.
BB: Tell us a little about your perceptions of Eric Nightingale as a character.
GE: Eric is a nasty, over-entitled little sh*t of a rich kid — as Eddie points out, he was raised to believe he could have everything. When he hit an obstacle he figured a way to cheat, because why on earth shouldn't he? But he does have a streak of conscience regarding his sister, whom he realizes he's dragged too far into the mire with him. So he's not a ruthless career criminal monster, he's just incredibly selfish.
BB: Eddie and Trudy are two of your favorites to write, it seems. What is the chemistry that makes them such a great team? They really seem to complement each other, even when their personal life rear its ugly head, so to speak.
GE: Trudy is probably the tougher of the two, Eddie possesses a little more empathy. Trudy's one weakness is that she knows her fellow officers think she used her looks to get ahead, and while it shouldn't bug her, it does. That's why she gets on so well with Eddie, because she knows he's fully aware that it's her skills that got her where she is — and that's all that he, and the other two members of the original Red Team, were interested in when they recruited her. Eddie is a much more anxious person than Trudy, but that's not the worst thing — it means he softens her occasional tendency towards ruthlessness.
BB: There seems to be more to our kingpins de jure, Phat Man and Little Boi, than at first meets the eye. Any hints at all to what may be up with them, and is there another big bad we have not even met/heard of as yet?
GE: These two are really the key to the story. Nothing about them is what it seems — not their own relationship, not what's apparently happened between them and Eric Nightingale. There is, in a way, another villain behind the two brothers — he doesn't appear in the story (because Red Team took care of him in series one), but he definitely made them the men they are.
BB: How do you think it would be writing either Eddie or Trudy in a solo mystery run?
GE: Interesting question, I hadn't considered that. It's very hard for me to think of either Eddie or Trudy without the other, just because they need each other to operate effectively. But… you never can tell.