Friday, 3 February 2017

Rough Riders #1 - AfterShock Comics

ROUGH RIDERS No. 1, April 2016
“One of the most exciting debuts” from “Aftershock Comics” during their “explosive first year of publications”, Issue One of “Rough Riders” must surely have delighted its 8,711 readers in April 2016, with its historically-based Nineteenth century roots and intriguing steer “into fictional territory.” Certainly, the new title undoubtedly fascinated many a bibliophile with its wonderfully authentic-looking Patrick Olliffe and Gabe Eltaeb illustrated cover, complete with straight-backed historical characters and anachronistically strongly-coloured steampunk firearms.

Indeed, the publication’s entire premise smacks of the series being something of an “American ‘League of Extraordinary Gentleman'”, and just like Alan Moore’s Eisner Award-winning mini-series, author Adam Glass doesn’t linger long before hurling his leading protagonist into the fray by pitting Theodore Roosevelt up against a blazing inferno in order to save some seamstresses who “traded one tyranny for another”, and were “working outrageous hours for pennies on the dollar in unsafe conditions that put their lives in constant danger.” This sense-shattering introduction to the future President, his space-age high-tech weaponry and zest for danger, is incredibly well-penned, and impressively ends on a poignant, heart-breaking moment as the hero helplessly watches a young girl fall through the unsafe factory roof to her death; “Today, nine women were saved. But for the rest of my life I’ll only remember the one I failed to rescue.”      

Just as well scripted is the television producer’s piece introducing the eventual first African American world heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson. Initially serious, as Teddy teaches the Hudson River-based pugilist a lesson in fist-fighting and prejudice, this punch-up becomes charmingly reminiscent of Robin Hood’s first encounter with Little John, as the fighter pulls his bespectacled antagonizer into the water just as soon as the older man grabs his hand in order to pull him ashore.

Described by Glass as having “an old school style” which is “perfect for this kind of book”, Olliffe’s artwork for “The Big Stick” is excellent and easily manages to convey both the dynamic, as Roosevelt drops through the skylight of a fiery factory, as well as the more sedentary. In fact, it’s hard not to disagree with this collaboration’s writer that the penciller is “a great partner for this” comic, and easy to see why he has “always been a big fan of Pat’s work.”
Creator & Writer: Adam Glass, Artist: Patrick Olliffe, and Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb

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