Talk about a real BLAST from the past!
Rough Riders was this month’s Pittsburgh Comics Book Club selection. We decided we would do a review for each trade selected every month for the club, and so far it’s working out wonderfully. Without the book club, we might have missed out on this amazing book.
This title is published by Aftershock Comics, which is cool considering I haven’t read too much of what they’ve been putting out; this book is a good introduction into the quality of comics they’re publishing. This volume contains the first seven issues, so you get a pretty decent bang for your buck when you pick up this first volume.
If you read the introduction at the beginning of this volume, you find out the writer, Adam Glass, is a bit of a history buff. Which you can tell with the way he uses these characters, their history, and how he weaves it all into his own story. For those of you not familiar with what this title is about, the best way I can explain it to you is it’s like A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen—but with real life historical figures.
The team, dubbed the Rough Riders, is led by Teddy Roosevelt. He recruits Harry Houdini, Annie Oakley, Monk Eastman, Thomas Edison, and Jack Johnson to take on a threat that could endanger the whole planet. Adam Glass does a great job of making each one of these characters unique and adding personal quirks to them that really works for the story. He makes them more than historical figures. He brings them to life and turns them into people you care about.
I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not the strongest when it comes to my historical facts, but from what I’ve heard talking to other people who would know, the story doesn’t get too bogged down with historical elements. They are just used as plot devices for the ongoing story—which is kind of cool. Glass also does an amazing job creating hilarious and natural flowing dialogue between the characters. None of it seems forced or unnatural for the time period.
I really enjoyed Patrick Olliffe’s artwork on this title, as well. Everything from the action scenes to the little character moments were done very well. Also, everything looks like the time period the story takes place in, but with a neat steampunk style added. Even during the moments where it starts to venture off into the advanced tech and alien stuff, everything still fits with the story and their world. Nothing feels out of place—even though they have laser guns and whatnot. All in all, the art really helped to lift the whole book up to another level and made it that much more enjoyable to read.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when this got announced as the next book for the club, but this first volume has definitely piqued my interest in seeing where the story goes from here. I’m for sure going to be picking up the second volume whenever it comes out.
I’m giving Rough Riders vol 1…
4 Out Of 5 Whiskey Shots
Writer: Adam Glass
Artist: Patrick Olliffe
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Regular Cover Artist: Patrick Olliffe