Story: Adam Glass
Art: Pat Olliffe
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
What They Say:
Great jumping on point! Three years have passed since the Rough Riders’ last adventure, but when an assassin’s bullet takes President William McKinley’s life, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt is thrust into the role of Commander in Chief. As a country mourns the loss of their leader, Roosevelt believes that the assassin is part of a bigger conspiracy, one whose tentacles reach back to Europe and whose intentions are to destroy humanity through world- wide ANARCHY.
To stop them, Roosevelt must convince Harry Houdini, Jack Johnson, Thomas Edison and a surprisingly very alive Annie Oakley to band together again. But time has strained the bonds that once united them and the ideologies of their enemies may have already seeped into one of their own. Welcome to ROUGH RIDERS: RIDERS ON THE STORM.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The first Rough Riders series kicked off last April and had a solid self-contained but open-ended run that I liked the start of but haven’t had a chance to pursue further. So when the opportunity to check out the second series arrived I was curious on its accessibility, something that a lot of series really fall down hard on. The team from the first run is back which means Adam Glass gets to tell some very fun new tales with great artwork from Pat Olliffe as he really brings this era to life in a richly detailed and engaging way. The visual design of the book, particularly with Eltaeb’s color design, has the right earthy tones to it that fits the era while sliding in a few fun things to make it stand out as something different and unique.
With this arc, things take a “fun” turn right out of the gate as we’re smack dab in the middle of 1901 as President McKinley is shot while out, following historical elements fairly well but with the potential for the twists to come as there are figures moving in the shadows that seem to be orchestrating it. The event is the catalyst, however, that gets other things moving. We see this primarily as Roosevelt now realizing he has to bring his team back together, though it takes a few days after the shooting to even find him as he’s off hunting in the mountains. What a different world from today! Roosevelt is dealing with the ramifications of what’s going to happen as his VP slot was designed to sideline him and keep him occupied but now it’s looking like he’ll be moving up the chain and that’s something that he’ll definitely have a lot to work with. All of that is either implied or given a small nod as the real focus is essentially elsewhere.
That elsewhere is the accessibility aspect of the book as he’s getting his Rough Riders back for another mission. What the mission will be isn’t revealed but the book serves to (re)introduce the group as they start coming together with Jack Johnson getting Harry Houdini back up to speed after three years apart. Those two begin to move toward meeting with Roosevelt again but end up picking up Monk Eastman as the “package” that they have to get before heading to Roosevelt’s special train car, a fun futuristic kind of car, where they end up connecting with both Thomas Edison and Annie Oakley. Everyone gets either a page or a slow reconnect series of dialogue pieces that helps to make clear who they are, though those that read the previous run will have a better idea of the dynamics and may find this a bit dull, but for me it made the book very easy to get into and want to see more of it.
This new Rough Riders series is a solid launching and jumping on point that should work for new and old readers alike since it hits all the right notes. Adam Glass delivered well with the launch of the first series and this works with what’s been established while making fairly smooth reintroductions for new readers here. While the story itself is less than clear at the moment the catalyst elements are in play and I’m definitely curious to see how his group will come together for it. The big winner with this issue is the combination of Olliffe and Eltaeb as it’s a great looking book that makes you feel like a part of the time period with the look of the locations, the costume design, and the overall tone of the colors. There’s a lot to like here in general and while existing readers will likely get a bit more out of it it works solidly for new readers as well.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: February 22nd, 2017