The lethal assassin Roku is reeling from a brutal defeat, but an even bigger fight awaits in Roku #3.
It’s round 2 between Roku and the superspy Ember-1!
Before starting this series, Cullen Bunn had just finished up a miniseries featuring Valiant’s Punk Mambo. It followed her adventures through the world of life, death and voodoo mysticism. That series was remarkable in the way you were able to connect to the character. Her journey across the miniseries made for a compelling tale.
Somewhere along the line, though, he lost the magic touch (pun intended) with Roku. The series has struggled to reach the same levels as Bunn’s previous Valiant work; there’s less meat on the bone with Roku than there was Punk Mambo, but then Nanbo is much less of a blank slate than Roku.
Unfortunately, for those who have watched the first couple episodes of The Mandalorian on Disney +, then you’re going to get a familiar sense about this book – a mercenary contracted for a job finds themselves a little more invested than they expected. If you’ve seen the Beskar armored warrior on your television or phone screen then you’ll have seen the best version of that story across any media.
It’s not that this is a bad book; much like one of Valiant’s other offerings released today, Bloodshot #4, it’s another action book set on a train featuring a character who should be a kick-ass lead, but because the settings are similar then comparisons will be drawn, and Roku doesn’t quite measure up. Which is a shame because there’s a great story here that’s struggling to see the light of day.
Bunn is joined by artist Ramon F. Bachs and colorist Stephane Paitreau, who add a distinct flair to the proceedings with their work; scenes on the train feel enclosed and confined before bursting across the page as the action unfolds from panel to panel as Roku and her incredible hair tear across the page trying to achieve her objective regardless of what’s in her way.
While not a bad book, Roku #3 isn’t up to the quality of some of Bunn’s earlier work. It’s still a fun read, but the trouble with focusing a book on a villain, even one as popular within the Valiant fandom (specifically Ninjak fans) as Roku is that somewhere along the lines you’ve got to find an antagonist who is somehow worse than her. Bunn hasn’t quite found that antagonist just yet.
At the end of the day, this book won’t convince you to pick up the series if you haven’t already, but it won’t feel like a waste of your money, either. Contrary to how it sounds, I did enjoy it – but not as much as other books I’ve read this week.
Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Ramon F. Bachs
Colors: Stephane Paitreau Letters: Dace Sharpe
Story: 7.8 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review