Sunday, April 24, 2016

REVIEW: Rough Riders #1

Creator & Writer: Adam Glass
Artist: Patrick Olliffe
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Review: Art Bee

Once again my LCBS owner has talked me into purchasing and reviewing a comic book. Rough Riders #1 was featured and highly recommended by Shawn, owner of Comics Cubed in Kokomo, IN. After finishing this jewel, my eyes are opened. This story of historical fiction blended with some steampunk qualities is something very special.

This is the story of Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt before he was ever the President of the United States. If any readers are not familiar with history, allow me to briefly educate you. On February 15, 1898, the USS Maine, a US battleship, was attacked and sunk near Havana, Cuba. The ship had been sent to protect U.S. citizens and property after anti-Spanish rioting in Havana ( During the war Teddy Roosevelt resigned his position as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to form his own voluntary cavalry group called the Rough Riders, which included a diverse group of cowboys, miners, law enforcement officials, and Native Americans (

With this in mind lets delve into this book. Adam Glass is a great writer, but I am not very keen on him calling himself the creator. He did not create the character of Theodore Roosevelt or several other characters referred to in this story.

With that said, the book is phenomenal! The way the story is structured allows the reader to get fully engrossed without feeling pulled along. When I started reading, I had not made the connection with the title and the historical group, so the opening scene made me feel like we were in Nazi Germany in one of the Concentration Camps furnaces. The reason for thinking this was the young lady in the first panel brandishing a Star of David. By the second page my thinking caught up with the book. The date 1898 and the rest of the scene set me right and engaged my intelligent small part of my brain.

Glass really engages us with some big words. On page two, panel four, he uses the word “surreptitious”. This needed to be looked up by myself for having never encountered it before. According to Google, this adjective means “kept secret, especially because it would not be approved of". When a comic book can increase the value of the intellect of the reader as well as entertain them, we have a very special comic.

This issue is titled “The Big Stick” because most every American should know that Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote is “to speak softly and carry a big stick”. This issue starts with Roosevelt being commissioned to handle the situation with the sinking of the Maine and startling to recruit the Rough Riders. I will not say more for ruining the wonderful awesomeness of this story.

The artwork is just as good as the writing. Truthfully I can’t tell whether this is digitally done or done on paper and scanned. Either way it is gorgeous. The artists’ attention to detail, especially on faces, is amazing. It is hard to pick a favorite panel. They are all very good.

When I was talking to Shawn about it, his words were, “When I finished, I was wishing there was more.” My sentiments are exactly the same. It feels like you only read four pages, but it is twenty pages long. Still shorter than most other comics, it is quality work. There is a sneak peak at the end for another of Aftershock’s titles, B.E.K. (Black Eyed Kids), that is coming out on April 20th, and I am not sure how I feel about it based on the preview. There is also an interview between the Editor-in-Chief, Mike Marts and Adam Glass. I really don’t like staged interviews; you don’t get a good feel for the person being interviewed.

This comic is going to hang around for a while. It should only have a finite number of issues based on historical events, but we shall see. I have not seen any specific information yet saying the contrary.

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