BHP’s Rok of the Reds has become something of a revelation to me as the sci-fi/football blend really sucked me in from that opening issue and it’s a mix of exciting & sadness that sees me catch-up on the final issue.
The first five issues have steadily built up to this finale with Kyle turning on the style under Rok’s control and bringing the Reds to the biggest match they have ever faced and Rok himself heading towards a face off with his own kind. The fact that those two plots have been played out alongside each other is a firm testament to just how well John Wagner & Alan Grant work as a team…..which we already knew anyway. The difference here is just how fresh this title has felt along the way.
The big match plays out with the Reds ahead but being clawed back and all while Rok’s pursuers edge closer and closer to catching up with him. When they do, it’s time for a spot of diversion with a powercut triggered by Rok and as he transcends his link with Kyle our football star is rushed off the pitch for medical attention. A Galactic battle for Rok plays out while Kyle fights for his life and while Rok wins the day and the Reds take a step closer to Cup glory things take a further turn for our galactic visitor.
From here the issue plays out to a crescendo which is in-line with the growing crowd at the final and the whole story hinges on Rok’s decision to claim his place on the Throne on his home planet of Arkady or head up the tunnel for the big match. To find out what he decides you’ll have to get hold of the issue itself but it’s safe to say that the whole Rok series has surprised in every way so far.
While Rok has been a hidden gem of a book to follow, it’s also been a showcase for Dan Cornwell’s art & Abby Bulmer’s colours which somehow manages to capture the grim world of sci-fi and vibrant on field scenes with pages that end up crammed full of energy. Glorious characters, stunning set-pieces and layouts that let the two plots ebb and flow alongside each other. Jim Campbell’s lettering polishes off the whole thing and this sixth issue in particular has a ton of dialogue & narration in it that he works into the pages so as not to detract from the events that are unfolding.
A blistering opener and sustained momentum throughout has made Rok of the Reds a surprise package in pretty much every way. As sci-fi & football blend together and the creative team play the comic book equivalent of the offiside trap, they catch us off guard and entertain the hell out of us which keeps us around for the entire run with an effortless ease. Six issues of greatness…..and here’s hoping they consider returning for more.
Check out the Rok of the Reds Facebook page for more info & updates. You can get hold of this and the previous issues over on the BHP online shop now and keep tabs on their Facebook & Twitter pages for news of what’s next.
You can also get your hands on your own Radford Reds T-Shirts now too: