There’s a new superhero on the block and he goes by Rogue Sun. Set within the Radiant Black universe, writer Ryan Parrott and artist Abel deliver an origin story first issue this week that puts a high schooler into a superhero costume with very little experience. It’s a comic that introduces readers and its main character to an entirely new world of superherodom and should connect with young and old readers alike.
Starting with the Rogue Sun costume, this superhero looks super cool. The suit is like a knight’s armor, but light bursts out of its seams like a flame or sun resides with him. We get to see it early on as the hero fights a supervillain in a nondescript city. Things don’t go so well for him, however, and soon the story jumps to our main character Dylan. It’s just one of many ways the story defies your expectations and feels quite new.
That’s obvious from the start when we see Dylan is a bully. As Parrott told me on the AIPT Comics podcast, Dylan has grown up without a father and has a lot of anger and frustrations to work through. Enter his father’s late gift of the Rogue Sun powers. There are a lot of characters for Dylan to play off of, from his mother to the new half-siblings he never met. Parrott gives readers just enough to go on to start to see how the dynamics of these characters might work, and there are certainly some mysteries to uncover between them.
The tail end of the issue is about Dylan using the Rogue Sun suit for the first time. Like any newbie, the power may be great and fantastic, but without practice, he’s harnessing only a fraction of what it can do. All that, and the issue drops a huge twist on readers. We get only a hint at what’s to come, but it’s a very clever way to further explore Dylan’s relationship with his father while giving him a mentor for the suit and its powers.
Abel’s art is super clean with a thin line that’s detailed. There are good textures used throughout as well which give the world a realistic feel. Chris O’Halloran’s colors are realistic and somewhat subdued (save for Rogue Sun’s costume, which is always striking). It’s the kind of art that is so detailed with its environments you’ll find yourself lingering just looking at the streets. In one scene, for instance, a sign reads “Wallgrans” which is a fun wrinkle. It’s the kind of art style you expect from European comics.
My only gripe might be this is a series that needs its second issue to really round things out. This sets up Dylan’s life and the characters in it, his father, and the general powers of the suit, but his journey as a hero only just begins. It leaves you wanting, but it’s obvious the second issue will bring us into that journey in a real way.
Rogue Sun #1 is a promising start to a superhero series that feels fresh, focusing on its characters while throwing them into unique dynamics. There’s a familiarity with the superhero as tropes are present, but it’s incredibly fresh at the same time. More importantly, this first issue is incredibly accessible and is an easy pick up for anyone who loves superheroes and wants something a little different.
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