Review - Roku #1 (@ValiantComics)

"But the truth're never safe..."

If you're a world-renowned assassin who keeps padding their bank account, is there a reason to take higher and higher paying jobs? You likely don't need the money, but for someone like Roku in Roku #1 from Valiant Comics it's likely for the thrill. The issue is written by Cullen Bunn, illustrated by Ramon F. Baths, colored by Stephane Paitreau and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

Killing her way around the globe, the deadly weapon called Roku will face a challenge she can’t simply execute. Being bad has never been so fun.

There are probably a few readers who aren't very familiar with Roku and Bunn understands that, taking time to introduce Roku to the reader and why she's so formidable. The first half of the book is said introduction, as Bunn showcases her talents as an assassin before delving into the second half of the book which serves as the catalyst for the series. Roku is an extremely capable character who has a few tricks up her sleeve she can rely on when it comes to completing the mission--something that seems to be a requisite to be a character in the Valiant Universe. And while most of the script in the first half is more narrative in nature, Bunn allows for more entertaining exchanges amongst the characters that further flesh out the personalities. The ending of the issue offers a sufficient cliffhanger, although Bunn doesn't stray too far in terms of what's expected in a Valiant book.

Baths illustrates the book with a fluidity to it that's befitting of a traditional, capes and tights book. Roku is rendered in a way that demonstrates her agility and combat prowess, convincing the reader that she's as good as her reputation makes her out to be. Baths fills every panel with plenty of characters dressed in ways that help the reader get a good sense of the setting on that pages and what's about to unfold. The panels are laid out in a way that provides energy to the book as Baths uses plenty of insets and overlays for effect. The colors by Faitreau skew darker with an emphasis on reds and blacks, echoing Roku's costume while also serving the "suit and tie guards covered in blood look" well.

Roku #1 is a strong introduction to a character who can be a big player in the grand scheme of things. The issue is very eventful in that it does a lot that it needs to do as a first issue and gets the reader primed for the remainder of the series. Bunn's script is very clean and fast-paced, getting the information to the reader clearly and excitedly. The illustrations by Baths are slick and fast-moving, providing a great sense of the frenetic world Roku chooses to live in. Roku #1 is a pretty fun first issue that accomplishes what it needs to do.

Roku #1 is available now.