Review - Rok of the Reds #1 (@BHP_Comics)

"But appearances can be deceptive."

The arrival of aliens on Earth will bring either peace or war. If they come solo though, it could be a little bit of both. That's the case in Rok of the Reds #1 from BHP Comics. The issue is written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, illustrated by Dan Cornwell, colored by Abby Bulmer and lettered by Jim Campbell.

Rok of the Reds is a six part series showing what happens when the lives of a dangerous intergalactic outlaw and an arrogant footballer collide. With his home world destroyed, Rok of Arkadi is on the run and needs a hiding place. And that hiding place happens to be troubled football star Kyle Dixon. A black comedy about revenge, redemption and the beautiful game.

Rok of the Reds #1 opens up in a pretty formulaic fashion inspired by Superman: alien abandons planet on the verge of destruction and is forced to find a new life on Earth. Wagner and Grant mix things up a bit though by giving Rok the opportunity to take on the persona of Kyle Dixon--a character written as something of a jerk. His character is every bit as entitled and spoiled as many modern-day athletes are perceived to be which makes the arrival of Rok so much more impactful. Much of the issue is focused on defining Kyle as such a spoiled individual, but it's done in a way that the reader can get a sense of where things are going. The dialogue is pretty conversational and lends more of a real-world mentality to the plot (as real as a plot can be with an alien from another planet).

Cornwell's artwork is a relatively no-frills approach in many regards. His characters are illustrated with an almost comical style that's reminiscent of newspaper strip characters in the past. That's not to say they're completely cartoonish; on the contrary, Cornwell does a great job of illustrating them in ways that reinforce the kinetic nature of playing soccer for instance. The panel layouts are very busy as Cornwell works in plenty of insets and overlays throughout the work to keep the reader's eyes moving across the pages. The colors by Bulmer are chosen in a way that's effective for showcasing various times of days and locales.

Rok of the Reds #1 is an interesting twist on a somewhat familiar tale. Rok's arrival on Earth will no doubt bring with it plenty of opportunity for confusion and mayhem, although it won't be in a necessarily vindictive way. The script by Wagner and Grant is pretty straightforward and the duo will likely have fun writing to the weaknesses of Kyle as a character. Cornwell's illustrations are an appropriate fit for the book and his renderings of Rok in particular give the book plenty of interstellar flair. Rok of the Reds #1 is a pretty fun first issue that seems to have a few surprises in store.

Rok of the Reds #1 is available now.