(w) Cullen Bunn (a) Ramón F. Bachs (c) Stéphane Paitreau (l) Dave Sharpe
Having heard of the Valiant Universe for years I never checked them out until recent with their newest Doctor Mirage, which I loved. Then I read their newest Bloodshot #1, which wasn’t bad. But felt like a comic ripped from the 90’s. Last week saw Valiant’s newest limited series first issue—Roku #1.
Anytime a new number one based around an existing character comes out I go in wondering if it’s really in fact good for a new reader. Roku #1 doesn’t rely much on her earlier appearances. But, it never fully explains her powers, or even tells the reader what they are. This could be writer Cullen Bunn hoping the reader knows her abilities, or Bunn could be setting up explaining them in the future.
Roku narrates a fair bit of what’s going on through the story in a gritty noir detective jargon. Most times this feels unneeded, or that it could’ve been accomplished in a different fashion as it makes Roku’s character feel one-dimensional. Throughout the first issue Roku never seems unique, like she got plucked from any other hard-boiled military comic.
Ramón F. Bachs’ art doesn’t mesh with the tone that Roku #1 is going for. Instead Bachs’ style is more of a 90’s cartoon turned comic. It’s not bad in any manner. But, barely fits with what the story is trying to portray. On colors is Stéphane Paitreau, who does a great job of helping Bachs’ art. Paitreau’s colors match the story a little more than Bachs’ art as his subdued colors correspond with the tone of Roku. During some heavier dialogue moments the lettering never gets in the way, this is courtesy Dave Sharpe. During the only double-page spread Sharpe angles the narration boxes at a descent that helps guide the reader through the art.
Out of all the number ones Valiant has released this year, Roku #1 is the least interesting. The plot never feels engaging, barely giving enough info to catch the reader’s attention. It doesn’t help that Roku feels so one-dimensional, and that she could be replaced with any other military character.