By Chris Tresson
I likes me some sci-fi comics. The industry seems to love them some sci-fi comics. So, in a market which is currently saturated with a lot of sci-fi comics, it can be hard to stand out. Ladies and gentlemen, this is my review of Rob Cohen’s Red Dog #1 from 451 Studios.Red Dog is a story which follows Kyle, a kid living within a mining colony on a planet called Kirawan, and his robot dog Q (short for Quantum.) There's only 200 people living there, and he’s the only kid. They’re all grafters (I suppose they have to be) and Kyle does his bit to try and prove to his dad that he’s ready to be a man. The important thing to remember here is that these humans aren’t the only ones who inhabit the planet; there are also the natives, which you get to see in the latter half of this issue. These guys are bad ass warrior types and from the looks of things, they aren’t best pleased with the humans trending on their turf. This issue sets up the series really well; it’s a good start, and you get a good idea of what you’re going to get from the rest of the series. There’s a multitude of themes at play and based on the first issue; I think you’ll dig it.
Rob Cohen and Andi Ewington have a great story on their hands here. I can feel it already. I’m reading through it and nodding along as they hit me with the science fiction. I’m familiar with Rob Cohen’s movies, and this book seems like a bit of a departure from his usual thing, but that’s fine by me. The story’s solid so far. Andi Ewington continues to impress me with his writing. I’ve known Andi for a while now, and it’s great to see him with his name on this book, I’m really happy to see he’s killing it right now (go check out Six and Exmortis which Andi’s also worked on for 451.)
On to the art... Robert Atkins is the artist on the book. The artwork is clean, consistent, and he does super-well with all the sci-fi elements in the story (the robots, future tech, aliens, etc.) I especially like the big ‘ED-209’ looking bots down in the mines, I want one of those. I envision a future where I can stroll ‘round my local supermarket crushing egg cartons in one of those things. Nothing to grumble about, looking forward to seeing more.
The colour work on this book is really nice, too. It’s very rich and vibrant which suits the story’s planet perfectly. I actually put off finishing my review so I could find out who colored it (my review copy didn’t have a credits page, cheers to Andi for letting me know!) Turns out it’s John Rauch! I’m a big fan of John’s coloring work, so I’m happy to see him on this book, too. Hopefully, it’s in the credits bit at the front of the book; I almost wrote "see him with his name in the book" when I have no evidence it’s actually in there, haha.
I’m going to finish this review by going back to my earlier point of the market being saturated with sci-fi comics, and it being hard to stand out… I think Red Dog does stand out. It’s not your run-of-the-mill sci-fi tale. It might have elements you’ve seen in other sci-fi stories, but it doesn’t feel like that when you read through. It feels fresh, new. It doesn’t try to blag your head too much to try and convince you it’s science fiction… It just is. It reads clean and easy and is good from the first page to the last. You can’t really ask for more.
Red Dog is top dog.
Red Dog is released in November, so you’ve got plenty of time to head down to your LCS and order it. The codes for it are SEP161708 (for the W. Scott Forbes cover, lovely stuff) and SEP161709 (for the Tom Velez cover, also really lovely!)
Red Dog #1
Writers: Rob Cohen & Andi Ewington
Artist: Rob Atkins
Colorist: John Rauch
Publisher: 451 Studios
Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital