Tag Archives: ramon f. bachs

Preview: RAI #5

RAI #5

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by RAMÓN F. BACHS
Cover B by MIGUEL SEPULVEDA
Cover C by ADAM POLLINA
Preorder Cover by JASON METCALF
On sale MARCH 11 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Rai and the Eternal Warrior fight in a bloody war against Bloodfather’s forces in the battle for Hope Springs.

RAI #5

Preview: Bloodshot #0

BLOODSHOT #0

Written by TIM SEELEY
Art by MARC LAMING
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by ROBERTO DE LA TORRE
Cover B by RAMÓN F. BACHS
Cover C by FRANCIS PORTELA
On sale FEBRUARY 19 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Artist Mac Laming unleashes eye-popping artwork as the truth behind Bloodshot’s mission is revealed!

BLOODSHOT #0

Review: Roku #4

Roku #4

Roku faces her sharpest enemy ever, the Minister of Blades, in the epic final battle in Roku #4! Who lives? Who dies? Find out here!

If you’ve read the previous three issues of Roku then you’ll know roughly what to expect. While not a bad book, Roku #4 isn’t going to convince anybody to read the series. But, it does wrap the story up nicely.

Cullen Bunn has set up a confrontation between frenemies Roku and Ember-1 with a host of assassins over the fate of the human information depository/internet Marybeth. There’s time and space for both Roku and Ember-1 to shine in their own bloody way during the scrap. Whether it’s the strangely deadly hair of the titular character or Ember-1’s more traditional fighting skills, they each bring something different to the comic. It’s a confrontation brought to life by Ramon F. Bachs and colorist Stephane Paitreau.

The art is solid and, although it won’t make or break the book, it’s clean in the way you want action to be. You can follow every knife thrust, slash and cut with ease. There were moments where I had to look twice as my eyes made sense of the character’s actions from one panel to the next, but nothing game breaking.

At this point, nothing I can say about this comic is going to make you want to read the series. I’ve enjoyed every issue myself, but I’m not going to claim that it’s a book for everybody. Roku is an interesting antagonist for one of the publisher’s more well-known characters. This book hasn’t really done a lot to make this a must-read for any but the most dedicated of Valiant fans. Those looking to read an action story about a strong female lead with a little depth will enjoy it too. You don’t need any prior knowledge which makes this a great introduction, but less so other established characters.

When it comes down to brass tacks, Roku hasn’t been a groundbreaking series. It has been somewhat predictable and hasn’t done much beyond setting up Roku for the future. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it; the introduction of Ember-1, the Minister of Blades and Marybeth and their journey across Europe was a fun read. Is it essential reading? No; but skipping it will deprive you of a solid four issue story.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Ramon F. Bachs
Colors: Stephane Paitreau Letters: Dace Sharpe

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Roku #3

Roku #3

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

Preview: Roku #3 (of 4)

ROKU #3 (of 4)

Written by CULLEN BUNN
Art by RAMÓN F. BACHS
Colors by STÉPHANE PAITREAU
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by VIKTOR KALVACHEV
Cover B by DAVE JOHNSON
Cover C by SHAWN CRYSTAL
Preorder Edition Cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
On sale DECEMBER 18 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The lethal assassin Roku is reeling from a brutal defeat, but an even bigger fight awaits…

It’s round 2 between Roku and the superspy Ember-1!

ROKU #3 (of 4)

Review: Roku #2

Roku #2

In order to save a life, the lethal weapon Roku is going to have to kill a lot of people. Plus, the first appearance of the Minister of Blades! All in Roku #2!

Comics featuring a villain as a protagonist can often be a dicey proposition. If the character isn’t in some way sympathetic it can be hard for the audience to find a connection. Roku is the exception to that rule. I say rule, but really it’s just a personal observation. She’s far from a sympathetic character in terms of her motivations, despite her tragic history. That’s revealed to some extent this issue through dialogue and the character’s internal monologue.

The first cliche of the book is that despite Roku being an unscrupulous assassin villain, she seems to be willing to do “the right thing”. Though arguably not for the best of reasons. It’s at this point that we find ourselves rooting for the character. While it may seem familiar to some, Cullen Bunn frames the story and the character in such a way that you’ll never complain that the story has that familiar sense about it.

The book showcases Roku’s skills, as well as the oddly creepy hair powers she has as she cuts through her enemies like cheese wire through a block of cheddar. Her hair powers are one of my favorite things about the character. Though I have to admit at finding it a little creepy at the same time. It’s both an interesting ability for a character and one that still has the ability to take me off guard. It isn’t often you see a character who can use her hair as a weapon.

Bunn’s story seems pretty straightforward, though one can start to see the subtle complexities being teased out to us.

Bunn is joined by artist Ramon F. Bachs and colorist Stephane Paitreau, whose style is clean with enough flare to provide an interesting look to the book. You can tell exactly what’s happening on each page even though there’s frequently some form of swift and brutal encounter between Roku and somebody else.

Roku #2 takes the series firmly into New-Reader-Friendly territory, with the focal point of the story being Roku’s mission rather than the character herself and a deep dive into her past. While her mysterious past is brought up enough to familiarize the unfamiliar, it hasn’t been anything more than characters alluding to what has gone before in a way that doesn’t break the story if you’ve no idea what happened.

At the end of the day, this book is still a fun read. There’s a bit more to unpack for fans of Roku or readers of Ninjak, but either way, there’s more than enough here to pull you back for the third issue.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Ramon F. Bachs
Colors: Stephane Paitreau Letters: Dace Sharpe

Story: 8.6 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Roku #2

ROKU #2 (OF 4)

Written by CULLEN BUNN
Art by RAMÓN F. BACHS
Cover A by VIKTOR KALVACHEV
Cover B by JEFF DEKAL
Cover C by ELSA CHARRETIER
On sale NOVEMBER 20 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

In order to save a life, the lethal weapon Roku is going to have to kill a lot of people.

Plus, the first appearance of the Minister of Blades!

The bloody thrill ride reaches new heights by New York Times bestselling writer Cullen Bunn (Venom) and stunning artist Ramón F. Bachs (Detective Comics)!

ROKU #2 (OF 4)

Review: Roku #1

Roku #1

How many lives must the lethal assassin Roku take in her first series? Roku #1 begins a journey to find out!

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 has always been something fun about reading a comic about the bad guy. Roku is another character to come from Ninjak, following on the heels of the spectacular Killers series. Roku features a mercenary assassin with a tragic past. Don’t all great characters have tragic pasts, really? And the first issue delivers a fast pace as she completes a couple of missions within the comic.

Perhaps one of my favourite things about the character is that she can use her hair as a weapon. She’s able to control it and then use it to slice and dice her opponents. That gives the artists some excellent chances to flex their muscles and get creative with her free-flowing locks of red hair. Think Carnage’s symbiote tendrils.

Writer Cullen Bunn’s story in this book seems pretty straightforward. Through his narration and the dialogue Bunn’s able to give readers unfamiliar with the character enough context that they understand who she is and her motivations. It serves as a great ground zero for those familiar with the character get refreshed and see where Bunn’s take begins.

The primary job of any first issue is to pull the reader back for more. With Roku #1 Cullen Bunn, artist Ramon F. Bachs and colorist Stephane Paitreau do just enough to entice me back for the second issue, although there seems to be something lacking from the comic. There was magic (pun intended) about Bunn’s first issue of Punk Mambo, a series he recently wrapped up for Valiant as well, that just isn’t repeated here.

Now comparing the two characters isn’t exactly an apples to apples view point; they’re both different characters, and one has had a lot more time in the limelight recently than the other (and my own personal bias toward Punk Mambo isn’t helping here either). That said, I’m confident that by the end of this book I’m going to want to read a lot more about Roku – whether I love the character, or love to hate her.

Ultimately a fun book, and one that Valiant fans should pick up. Whether it’ll attract new readers remains to be seen.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Ramon F. Bachs
Colors: Stephane Paitreau Letters: Dace Sharpe

Story: 8.6 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Roku #1

ROKU #1

Written by CULLEN BUNN
Art by RAMÓN F. BACHS
Cover A by DAVE JOHNSON
Cover B by VIKTOR KALVACHEV
Cover C by MARC LAMING
Pre-Order Edition Cover by HOWARD CHAYKIN
Blank Cover Also Available
$3.99 | 32 pages | T+ | On Sale OCTOBER 30th

How many lives must the lethal assassin Roku take in her first series?

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.

ROKU #1

Cullen Bunn Talks Going Full John Wick Style in Roku #1

Roku #1 Cover A
Cover A by Dave Johnson

Coming to shelves October 30th, we’ll find out how many lives the lethal assassin Roku must take in her first series! Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Ramón F. Bachs launch the four-issue series that has Roku killing her way around the globe.

We got to ask Cullen Bunn about the brand new series that goes full-on “John Wick style action.”

Graphic Policy: Hi Cullen! How’s it going?

Cullen Bunn: Going great! I just returned home from a couple of trips (to New York and Baltimore), so I’m a little behind, but I’m writing comics during Halloween season! What could be better?

GP: You’ve recently finished a pretty damn good mini-series featuring Punk Mambo; Now that you’re scripting Roku is there a difference in how you approach the two characters?

CB: Oh, yeah. Roku and Punk have such different personalities, different themes, that it is impossible to treat them the same. With Punk, I wanted to spin a fun horror yarn. With Roku, I went for full on John Wick style action. I listened to different music, wrote at a different pace. Everything, down to the pacing of the books, is different… in a good way.

Roku #1 Cover B
Cover B by Viktor Kalvachev

GP: Roku hasn’t really been shown as a protagonist yet in the Valiant universe; what are the challenges, or opportunities, that come from placing her in that position for the first time?

CB: Maybe she’s still the villain!

GP: Touche!

CB: I wanted to approach this as Roku’s first appearance. We’re not seeing any major Valiant heroes here. I didn’t want anyone to steal Roku’s time in the spotlight. Since she hasn’t been the lead before, it was so much fun helping her shine. Of course, she has backstory, and getting that across without slowing this story down, was a bit of a challenge. I think I found a pretty good middle ground, though.

GP: Valiant’s got a reputation of being very new reader friendly with first issues. How familiar does a reader need to be with Roku’s past to enjoy this?

CB: A new reader doesn’t need to know anything about Roku when they pick up this book. As I mentioned, I treated it as her first appearance. We’ll fill you in on anything vital along the way.

Roku #1 Cover C
Cover C by Marc Laming

GP: You’re using Roku to explore a side of the Valiant universe that we haven’t really seen before. Can you tell us any more about that without revealing too much?

CB: As we jump into this book, Roku has been working with a sinister criminal organization—a gathering of faceless movers and shakers. That’s where we start, but we used that as a springboard to introduce a number of criminal groups and (especially) a number of assassins, mercenaries, and killers. Some of these ne’er-do-wells have big roles. Some have brief appearances, but all of them hint at new factions that will be part of Valiant moving forward.

GP: Is there anything different you need to do for your own processes when centering a story around a character that has been seen primarily as villainous?

CB: I’ve made a career out of writing villains and anti-heroes. For this, I was kind of able to do my own thing. I did want this book to feel different, though, and I put a lot of thought into how to make that happen. Here, I wanted to focus on action and violence and the criminal underworld.

GP: Do you think that we’re still going to view her as a villain after this series?

CB: She certainly starts that way! As for how she ends up… it all depends on how that final act plays out.

Roku #1 Cover E
Preorder Cover by Howard Chaykin

GP: You’ve introduced a couple new characters in the first issue; what can you tell us about them without revealing too much about the story?

CB: Elena is Roku’s contact and handler in Russia. I wanted someone who could counterbalance the seriousness and darkness of Roku. She is a talented character, and I really came to love her over the course of the series, even though she seems a bit bumbling.

Ember-1, on the other hand, is every bit as serious and lethal as Roku. She is an enhanced British operative loaded with the very best gear. What makes her really dangerous, though, is that she seems to know more about Roku than Roku knows herself!

GP: Finally, is there any other Valiant character that you’d like to get your hands on?

CB: Oh, yeah. There are some characters I feel like I was born to write. I’m not mentioning them right now, though, because my secrets run deep.

GP: Thanks so much for answering our questions and can’t wait to check out the series!

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