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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Review: ROK OF THE REDS No.1

Launched at the London Film and Comic Con last weekend, Rok of the Reds No.1 is a new colour comic from Glasgow publisher BHP Comics. Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, and illustrated by newcomer Dan Cornwell, it's a very entertaining first issue.

John Wagner is of course best known as the co-creator and scriptwriter of Judge Dredd. Before that, he was the editor of a superb revamp of the weekly adventure comic Valiant. I mention that because Rok of the Reds feels to me like it would have been a perfect fit in a modern-day version of that comic. Not that it's dated. Far from it. What I mean is the strip combines two traditional British comics themes; football and sci-fi in the sort of quirky way that British comics used to do, but the execution is fresh and contemporary. With his years of experience Wagner really knows how to move a story along. There's no padding here and the dialogue is sharp and a joy to read. 

The story begins in the depths of space with the destruction of a distant world, introduces us to the alien named Rok, and then the scene shifts to a football match on Earth. Here we meet Kyle Dixon, an arrogant and mean-spirited player whose fate is destined to be linked to the alien. 

Artist Dan Cornwell turns in great work on this. There's some really nice linework here with good character studies. The style echoes a traditional look but with a modern edge; just the right style for this story. The icing on the cake is Abby Bulmer's superb colouring. Mention should also go to the letterer of course, and Jim Campbell does a very nice job. 

The issue sets everything up nicely and I'm really looking forward to the developments in issue 2. 

Rok of the Reds No.1, on sale now. Order your copy by post here:

Hopefully your nearest comic speciality shop will have copies but if you're attending the Cardiff Film and Comic Con this weekend John Wagner will be amongst the guests and you can buy a copy from the great man himself.

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