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Comic Book / The Red Ten

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"I'm never gonna get to kill the Justice League, but the Alliance better watch out."
Tyler James

The Red Ten is a ten-issue comic-book miniseries created by Tyler James and Cesar Felicario and published by Comix Tribe. Inspired by Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, it is a murder mystery with superheroes.

When Red, the world's greatest detective, is brutally murdered, her teammates in the Alliance attempt to track her killer down and bring him in. Things go horribly wrong, however, and one by one, the members of the Alliance die.


This series contains examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Androika is described as the most advanced artificial intelligence on the planet. An e-mail from one of her creators suggests that she suffered an existential crisis, which eventually led to her killing them.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Justice America gives one to Bellona, revealing that he's in love with her and that he thinks they're meant for each each other, in an attempt to convince her that he's not the murderer. Bellona's only reaction is to start laughing uncontrollably. Justice America is so hurt by this that he unwittingly kills her.
  • Anyone Can Die: Every issue features one of the main cast getting killed off.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Orion mentions the old "I am my brother's keeper" adage more than once. He got it from his twin brother, who was the one who was supposed to inherit the power belt he wears.
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  • Calling the Old Man Out: Crimson was originally Red's sidekick, but eventually left after the two started to butt heads. He ultimately cut ties with her completely upon finding out she had recruited a second Crimson Kid, a decision he finds abhorrent. Especially after she's murdered by Oxymoron.
  • Cardboard Prison: During their last face-to-face meeting, Red argues with Crimson and states that Oxymoron will eventually escape from prison to continue his murder spree, hence her desire to take him herself. She then does everything she can to avert this trope by building a prison on a deserted, untraceable island for him and him alone.
  • Cassandra Truth: Oxymoron was the one who first discovered the dark secrets the members of the alliance were keeping. He was eventually able to convince Red to start investigating, but notes that almost to the very end she thought/hoped that everything was all just part of a villainous plan of his.
    • When they're the last two members of the Alliance left alive, Bellona is tricked into thinking that Justice America is the murderer. He desperately tries to convince her that this isn't the case, but she's too angry to listen.
  • The Chessmaster: Oxymoron, being an expy of The Joker, is as brilliant as he is insane. He was the one who crafted the plan to kill off the Alliance, which required immaculate planning and prediction of exactly how the Alliance members would act once they arrived at the island. Ultimately, he did so perfectly.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: The Alliance is funded by the Lear Corporation.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Red is an expy of Batman. Guess what her origins are.
    • Crimson had one as well. A criminal group murdered his entire family at his mother's birthday party, and were going to shoot him before Red arrived and saved him.
  • Dark Secret: Each member of the Alliance has a dark secret, and they all come to the forefront with the death of Red, the World's Greatest Detective:
    • While Red is interrogating her archenemy Oxymoron, he asks her some tough questions, such as where Master Mage gets all the blood for is his blood magic from. This leads her to investigate and discover the secrets of her comrades and she plans on taking them down. She gets shot in the head for her trouble and Oxymoron is framed as the killer.
    • Justice America, the Ultimate Human, is the leader of the Alliance. He is the one who murdered Red. He's the brother of an expy of Lex Luthor and was uplifted by alien technology to be little more than a corporate enforcer. Besides Red, he's also murdered his reporter girlfriend and other girls before he was introduced to the world. He gets comeuppance when he's exposed to an engineered virus that removes his invulnerability and he's beaten to death.
    • Mold is debuted as a friendly alien shapeshifter. He's actually a pedophile in prison, who's also a brilliant inventor. The corporation behind the Alliance free him for one of his inventions and he's given the identity of Mold. Was puppeted to be a weapon by the hero killer and was killed by Justice America in self-defense.
    • Mazu made a pact with ocean spirits and gained power over the ocean. She had her aquatic minions drown a love rival in a bathtub. The rival's lover gets the blame for the crime despite being innocent, leading him to commit suicide. Mazu gets lured to a dry room and disemboweled by Mold in the form of that rival
    • Master Mage is a sorcerer who wields a magic staff. He fuels his blood magic by murdering prostitutes. He's killed when his magic staff is tampered with to open a portal to Hell.
    • Bellona is the queen of the Amazons and had been trying for centuries to have a daughter. She lures sailors to her island and kills them after sex; if she finds out that she's having a boy, she has it aborted. Dies in a fight with Justice America after she's tricked into thinking he's the murderer when her jaw is blasted through.
    • Magnitude is a brilliant scientist who uses size-changing technology. He's also a serial killer. He keeps going out with women to shrink them down and crush them into microscope slides. When Bellona finds out, she fights him and he swallows her alive, where she guts him from within.
    • Androika is a highly-advanced android. She killed her inventors when she's first brought online. She self-destructs when the killer uploads virus into her.
    • Orion inherited his power belt from an alien cop who crash-landed on Earth. It was actually his identical twin brother. After his brother used the belt to save Orion from thugs, a drunk Orion snatched the belt from his brother and accidentally pushes him off a cliff. In a panic from all the people dying, he flees to outer space where he's caught by space police who punish him by taking his belt while he's still in Earth's gravitational field and he burns on reentry.
    • Throttle is the team's super-speedster. He was a junkie who gained his speed powers when he got doused by chemicals during his attempt to rob a chemical plant. He's still on drugs and accidentally ran into a car while high, killing the family. He's murdered when his poisoned drugs give him a fatal heart attack.
    • Oxymoron is actually in love with his nemesis, Red and is the one to set her on the trail of her comrades. He's been on the prison island for the last three years and he helped design the plans to take down the Alliance. He gets his neck snapped as he's too psychotic to leave alive and to fulfill a promise.
    • Red's ex-sidekick Crimson is the one killing the Alliance. He received a post-death message from Red telling him about her investigation. She wants him to take the Alliance down, but leave them alive. However, he's opted to kill them instead. He also executed Oxymoron, as he promised to do so to his replacement (who got murdered by Oxymoron on her first solo outing).
  • Dead All Along: When the Alliance arrived at what appears to be Oxymoron's island headquarters, they're surprised to find that he's already dead.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: A hijacked Mold takes on the forms of Red, Oxymoron, and all of the deceased Alliance members when confronting Justice America. Not only does this trick him into thinking the former two are both still alive, it gets him so mad that he attacks with lethal force... and leaves him with the dead Mold for Bellona to find.
  • Dented Iron: During one of their last meetings, Crimson notes that Red is still active as a superhero despite being "on the wrong side of forty."
  • Did Not Think This Through: Part of the tragedy of Mazu's backstory: she had her underwater minions murder the woman involved with the man she loved. They did so by drowning her in a bathtub. Unfortunately, since said man was the only other person present in the hotel room at the time, he was immediately blamed for the crime. Things got so bad for him that he eventually committed suicide.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: When Red discovered all of her teammates' horrible secrets, she shared her findings with Justice America since she never found any evidence of wrongdoing on his part and believed him to be the friend and hero she always thought he was. She's then betrayed when he attacks and ultimately kills her.
  • Exact Words: After Orion is found guilty by the Omniverse Protectorate, Jezella explains that his punishment is to be immediately stripped of his belt. Orion is relieved since he thinks this means that he'll just have to go back to a normal life. She then makes it clear that she did mean "immediately"... and proceeds to take the belt from him while they're still in space, sending him plummeting back down to Earth.
  • Expy: The Alliance is based on the Justice League:
  • Fetish: Magnitude has one for shrinking women down and crushing them between microscope slides. He collects dead women and observes their corpses through a microscope when he's alone.
  • Flying Brick: Justice America. He is a Superman expy, after all.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Oxymoron, whose corpse still has his trademark grin despite being dead for quite some time. Even when his body is left a charred mess by an explosion, the smile still remains, much to Crimson's discomfort.
  • Graceful Loser: Oxymoron is caught off-guard when Crimson attacks him and breaks his neck after the two plan to kill the Alliance. However, as he sits dying, he assures Crimson that he's now ready to go through with the whole scheme and goes out with a smile.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Bellona is extremely belligerent and combative. It's what gets her killed in the end.
  • He Knows Too Much: Red was murdered by Justice America because she discovered most of the horrible secrets of the Alliance and was going to take them down.
  • Jerkass: Every member of the Alliance, really, though Red is more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Know When To Fold Them: Said almost word-for-word by Orion after the deaths of Androika, Master Mage, and Throttle. He decides to leave the island and flies off into space.
  • Love Triangle: Much to a young Mazu's dismay, the man she loved only thought of her as a surrogate little sister and became involved with another woman.
  • Mood Whiplash: When Red is about to be murdered, her killer points a gun at her head, pulls the trigger... and nothing happens. Red calls them an asshole and bluntly points out that the safety is still on.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Mazu had her subjects murder the woman that the man she loved was involved with.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Some of the characters do experience some guilt in regards to their actions:
    • Justice America is genuinely devastated when he kills his reporter girlfriend in his backstory. In the present, he's horrified when he kills Bellona in both self-defense and anger at her rejecting his feelings.
    • Throttle was legitimately horrified when he unwittingly killed a family during one of his highs, if his 911 call is anything to go by.
    • Mazu is haunted by her indirect murder of her rival, which led to the unintentional framing and suicide of the man she loved.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Every issue of the main story ends with a shot of a segment of someone's evidence board, detailing what each hero's Dark Secret was and how they could be killed. It's revealed in the final issue that the board belonged to Oxymoron, who was the first to discover all of the information and who shared all of the info with Crimson as part of his plan for revenge.
    • When Crimson is relating some of Oxymoron's crimes, he mentions a time when the villain beat a girl to death with a crowbar while quoting Dr. Seuss. It's eventually revealed via flashback that the girl in question was Sally, the second Crimson Kid.
    • When Magnitude flashes back to his time working in his lab, he's looking through a microscope and commenting on how whatever he's looking at is "beautiful." It's eventually revealed that he's a serial killer and that he keeps his victim's corpses contained in microscope slides, putting this moment in a whole new light.
    • When Crimson is revealed to be the one murdering the Alliance, several panels show the various deaths and how he accomplished them.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Oxymoron is almost always smiling or laughing. When Crimson confronts him in regards to Red's murder, he becomes angry and serious, and even starts to cry from sadness as he claims that he genuinely loved her.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Master Mage's magic comes in part from sacrificing children.
  • Red Herring: When the Alliance find Red's old aquatic ship underneath the island, Crimson suggests that she may still be alive and is the one responsible for the murders. As it turns out, Crimson himself is the killer and was just trying to divert suspicion. When he reveals this to Justice America, he reminds him that Red even called her ship "The Herring."
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: What the Alliance's deaths all amount to. Oxymoron wanted revenge for Red's death, leading him to come up with the plan in the first place. Crimson then co-opts the plan for his own revenge.
  • Robot Girl: Androika, the team's super-advanced android.
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: Everything that happens in the series is all part of the massively complex plan to kill off the Alliance in revenge for Red's murder. Lampshaded when Oxymoron lays it all out for Crimson:
    Crimson: You do realize how many things need to go right for this plan to work, don't you?
  • Sequel Hook: The Alliance is dead, and Crimson returns to his fiance. However, the Lear Corporation plans to simply roll out a new team of "heroes," and it's implied that Crimson will take the fight to the ones behind the Alliance in the first place.
  • Sensory Overload: One of the supplementary pieces relates a time that Oxymoron used a special gas called TN-X to murder a bar full of people with a particularly lethal case of this:
    Douglass: Known as a sensory bomb. Within seconds, it causes permanent blindness. Lights out for everyone. But that's the least of it. Next, it cranks up the perception of the other four senses to the max — whispers become shouts, nudges become jabs, and the slightest aroma becomes an overwhelming stank. The body isn't made to handle that kind of sensory overload. Most are dead in minutes.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Orion is confronted by members of the Omniverse Protectorate, their leader Jezella has three breasts.
    Orion: I don't totally recall.
    • Crimson refers to Mold as Gumby at one point. It's eventually revealed that Mold's creators based his appearance on the character in order to project a friendly image.
  • So Proud of You: Defied; once the last of the Alliance is killed, Tilly (Red's confidante and aide), tells Crimson that Red would be proud of him for taking them down. Crimson denies this, however, claiming that she would be ashamed of him for his bloody actions.
  • Spanner in the Works: Tilly, Red's aid and confidant, is the reason the Alliance died because she's the one who let Crimson know what Red hoped to accomplish. Had it not been for Tilly, Justice America would've gotten away with killing Red and the rest of the Alliance would've never paid for their crimes.
  • Straw Feminist: Bellona, who makes no secret of how much she hates men in general. Mazu is the only member of the team that she treats with any sort of respect or concern.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: But of course.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Red, being based on Batman, firmly maintained this sort of code. That's why Crimson knows she would be ashamed of his actions.
  • Token Good Teammate: As the story goes on and the Alliance's horrible crimes are revealed, it becomes clear that Red, for all of her faults, was ultimately the only member who was a genuine hero.
  • Wham Line: Several:
    • One of Kingston Lear's employees is sent to check on someone called "the Puppeteer" and finds him murdered:
    Employee: The Puppeteer is dead. The rig isn't here. We've lost control of Mold.
    • When Justice America reveals why he's so sure Red isn't the one murdering the members of the Alliance:
    Justice America: Because I killed her.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Oxymoron has zero problem with kidnapping and murdering children.
    • The criminal who murdered Red's parents tried to shoot her as well despite her youth.
    • It's all but outright stated that Mr. Collodi, the man who's actually Mold, is a child molester.

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