Title: Rough Riders Vol 1 | Series: Rough Riders | Author: Adam Glass | Publisher: Aftershock Comics | Pub. Date: 2016-12-14 | ASIN: B01LYSV1FK | Genre: Science Fiction Alternate History | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from Edelweiss for review consideration.
Collecting the first seven issues of the epic AfterShock series! At the cusp of the 1898 World’s Fair, America is poised to become Earth’s most industrious nation. When a terrible power emerges from the darkness, a group of unlikely heroes team-up to stop it. A tortured Teddy Roosevelt recruits a struggling Coney Island magician named Harry Houdini…a hard-drinking, gun-slinging Annie Oakley; a financially strapped and aging Thomas Edison; and a boisterous, womanizing African American boxer with a big chip on his shoulder named Jack Johnson. These legends of old will soon wage a shadow war that will change the course of history for America, and ultimately, the world. That is, of course, if they don’t kill one another first.
Don’t miss out on this first collection from ADAM GLASS (executive producer of Supernatural & writer of Suicide Squad) and PAT OLLIFFE (Untold Tales of Spider-Man).
Rough Riders Review
I actually passed over Rough Riders Vol 1 a few times before deciding to go ahead and give it a try. I’m not normally someone who digs alternate history stuff, so I was definitely a bit leery. But I downloaded it, and figured I would just read the introduction and see if it was worth checking out. Well, I ended up finishing it. No matter what I think of the book overall, when the introduction is a man geeking out about learning and history, I’m going to immediately develop a bit of a soft spot. It’s obvious Adam Glass loves the past, and I was immediately hopeful that the comic would have a touch of that love in it.
- The first issue just establishes that Roosevelt is a man with a mission, and starts bringing together the team. It feels disappointingly short, with him only gathering one teammate, and talking about the next one.
- The second issue sees the rest of the team gathered and the journey begin. I definitely had a laugh at how Annie joins the team. Her dipping Teddy Roosevelt during the tango was something I didn’t know I needed to see until I saw it.
- The third issue sees the Rough Riders properly on their journey. Annie and Teddy continue to be my favorite characters. However, the team of Jack and Houdini is an interesting one as well. Definitely some weird crap happening in Cuba.
- The fourth issue was my favorite of the series. The others made me snicker, but this one had some laugh out loud lines, and also one solid moment of “Holy crap! I wasn’t expecting that!!” It details more of their time on the island and some disturbing discoveries.
- The fifth issue introduces some more common elements, and felt like a bit of a let-down after the fourth issue. More revelations, some dissent amongst the team. Standard stuff.
- The sixth issue picks things back up. I honestly thought that things were going to go in a completely different direction than they did at one point. Kudos to Adam Glass for surprising me. I appreciated that.
- The seventh issue had me internally yelling at the pages. One particular panel also triggered my tryptophobia and had my scalp crawling. Even thinking about it I want to scratch at my skin. While it didn’t end on the note that I wanted it to do, I still liked it.
The volume begins and ends with group photos (and the group looks much different between 1 and 7), but the individual issues in between have covers devoted to each of the group. As usual, there are some cover variants at the end. I have to say that I’m really glad they went with the ones that they did, as I’m not a particular fan of any of the variants except for one.
Rough Riders Vol 1 was a lovely experience, and I felt like the seven issues contained an almost perfectly done mission arc. There’s a perfect amount of action, and the dialogue is spot on. Most of the characters are very likable, even if they haven’t yet had a chance to really develop. We do get a glimpse into a bit of their backgrounds in last few issues that helps us connect with them just enough to appreciate what they’ve overcome without being subjected to a ridiculous amount of pages filled with backstory.
Overall, I was very happy with Rough Riders Volume 1. Adam Glass crafted a good story with great dialogue that had me laughing more often than not. Patrick Olliffe’s illustrations were perfect. He is very talented and able to communicate the unwritten portions of the story very well. Gabe Eltaeb coloring was nice as well. There have been times where a perfectly good comic book has been hampered by perfectly horrible coloration. I’m happy to report this is not the case here. And Sal Cipriano’s lettering made it so that I had absolutely no problem following exactly who was speaking or what was being said. (Following the dialogue is often a problem that I have.)
Definitely recommend this and I will be checking out the next volume of Rough Riders as soon as I can get my hands on it!