The worlds of football and sci-fi wasn’t something I expected to work but Rok of the Reds #1 from BHP turned that notion on it’s head….and the next two issues aims to build on that.
While we’ve already seen Rok flee his home planet and take the form of top footballer Kyle Dixon that’s more ego than man, it’s this second issue that really starts to show the struggle Rok is going through as he tries to blend into his new home planet. The on-field antics are less than slick as he finds himself completely out of his depth and while that makes up the core elements of the issue we’re beginning to see other elements drift in that show a different side of the book. Rok’s personality is starting to develop and while he started out as an outlaw on the run he’s now just another character trying to fit in and find his place in the world…..albeit a new world he’s never been to before.
The third issue sees us hit the halfway point and Rok is really starting to settle into his new life as Kyle Dixon. His footballers ego is fading but there’s a new struggle for Rok to maintain his human form and keep his true identity a secret…..not always possible when you’re a lodger and the landlady’s son is a big fan of Kyle’s. The newly found option to share his secret with someone gives Rok a release and a chance to relax as himself between matches but Wagner & Grant are blending a lot of elements here that I’m pretty sure only few writer’s could juggle successfully….and they do it with ease.
The Kyle Dixon/Rok dynamic is an intriguing one to see unfold and while we KNOW he’s an outlaw there’s something likeable about a flawed hero like this. His ability to make Kyle a better person in the process seems to be an added bonus but it feels like we’re about to see the shit hit the fan as everything can’t run this smoothly right?? Grant & Wagner continue to write comics I want to read and a sci-fi football book seems to be the one thing my pull list was missing. Add to that the stunning artwork from Dan Cornwell that’s got depth & layers to it that capture the different elements amazingly well and it’s win-win on all fronts. Kudos goes to Abby Bulmer on colours & Jim Campbell on letters as they both add the final touches to a strong BHP title that deserves as many readers as possible for a comic that blends Bend it Like Beckham with The Day the Earth Stood Still.