Written by: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art by: Dan Cornwell, Abby Bulmer and Jim Campbell
Cover Price: $5.67 (order online HERE)
Release Date: June 15, 2016
Publisher: BHP Comics
Oh, those crazy Scots! My dear mother once told me that the smallest book in the world was The Great Chefs of Scotland and since the woman couldn't cook to save hers or her family's life, I believed her. Let me rewind a bit and tell you that she grew up in Southern England and for some reason, hated everything Scottish. Of course, since I've always hated her, I tended to love everything Scottish, from Haggis, to Chris Paterson, to Gordon Ramsay...actually, I can't stand Gordon Ramsay so I will substitute him with Dundee Marmalade. Why am I going on and on about my love of things Scottish? Because I may have found another thing to add to my list of loves...Rok of the Reds from Scottish comic company Black Hearted Press. Here is my review for it...my mother be damned!
The issue opens in deep space and we are witness to an entire planet's destruction. Now that got my attention! John Wagner and Alan Grant are not giving us any real answers yet, but we do see a sole survivor...or do we? His name is Rok and appearances are definitely deceptive!
We then head off to Earth and we arrive in the middle of a football match (I would say soccer, but when in Scotland...) and are introduced to Kyle Dixon. This is where Wagner and Grant earn my money and respect because of just saying, "Hey everybody, this Dixon is a real wanker!", they show that Dixon is a real wanker! I'm talking Cristiano Ronaldo level dickhead here!
His behavior only gets worse as he is booted from the game, kicked off the club and treats kids and his landlady like crap. I know we just met him, but it all seems like just another day in the life of Kyle Dixon. Again, a real wanker!
I'll tell you right now, I am very intrigued to see where this comic is going. The love the mystery behind Rok, but it's Wagner and Grant's character work with Dixon that steals the show. Sure, he is an awful, awful person, but within one page, you already feel like you know him more than you ever wanted to...and then you learn more. If you are a sports fan of any kind, you will be able to think of at least one guy who made your blood boil the way he does here and yet, I ended up feeling bad for him by the end. He comes off as a guy trapped in his own body and I'm guessing that's what Wagner and Grant are playing around with here. I may be totally off here and even if I am, this is still a really good read with some great character work.
It also has some pretty great art as well. Dan Cornwell starts off by giving readers a really interesting looking alien race (god rest their souls...if they believe in gods...or souls), but it's the football scenes I liked the most. It's not just the play on the pitch, but the emotional crowd that make the story believable. I really enjoyed the creative panel layout that allowed us to see the action of the match as well as the crowd reaction all together. Abby Bulmer's colors add a depth to it all and it all ends up being a really good looking book.
Bits and Pieces:
I am really glad I gave Rok of the Reds a try. John Wagner and Alan Grant take their time establishing characters while leaving the overall story a mystery. A very intriguing mystery. It all leads to a crazy cliffhanger that comes at just the right time to be a hint at what's going down, but nothing more and nothing less, Because of that, I already have ideas of what I hope happens next, but really want to see WHAT actually does happen next. I can easily recommend this and so...I will. Highly Recommended.