Roku is another one of those books from Valiant Comics where you find yourself saying “It’s About Time!”. Of course there is an understanding that Valiant only has so many slots for these books to get the spotlight, but even then you find yourself saying it’s about time. The same way you would have for the Livewire series, or even Punk Mambo. With that said, Roku’s story I looked forward to a bit more because unlike those two, it is rare when she plays that big of a role. And because of that, there’s less of her that we know intimately in contrast to others.
Now while I say that there’s less of Roku that we know intimately, it makes you wonder what kind of introduction we were in store for. For those of us already familiar with Roku, we know that she was a former ally of Ninjak’s when they both worked in MI-6. You know, in her past life. We also know that she is currently aware of that past and chooses to be Roku over who she used to be. So this made you wonder. Are we going to get a quick recap of who she is? Or will we just jump right into the action-packed life of this lethal assassin? When you know that Valiant prides themselves on making every new #1 accessible to all readers, you kind of knew what you were expecting. I would say that in the case of this first issue, they hit us with a bit of both. We did jump straight into the life of Roku, yet at the same time understanding Roku was to see her in action. To see the kind of work she does, the way she perceives the value of life, and what motivates her going from job to job.
From there, we were simply awaiting for that one job that would set this plot in motion. What I personally expected was a bit challenge. There’s more to Roku than simply being the most dangerous woman in the world. She has a slew of abilities, capabilities, and let’s not forget the fact that it takes some cunning to get through her near indestructible skin.
When you take that into account, this challenge she faced would have had to be pretty personal. That is the only way you could really get the upper hand over someone like her. We’ve seen it before when Ninjak has had encounters with Roku in the past. So obviously you would think that makes things fairly predictable, however, it’s always going to boil down to the execution at the end of the day. That I would say Cullen Bunn nailed since this challenge hit Roku both psychologically and physically. At the same time it also turned into two challenges for the price of one. When they said there was something she couldn’t simply execute, they meant it.
A big thing for me was definitely seeing that they would put a capable art team on this book. It goes without saying that for the kind of violent book you know you are going to get out of Roku, you want a team that knows how to weave a satisfying action scene. For this art team, I would say that they were fitting. There certainly has been some other artists who did beautiful work with Roku in the past. Mainly for the brilliant style they incorporate through her hair and graceful reflexes. It was hard not to draw comparisons, though the interior work was solid. You got the same liveliness through Roku’s slaughtering of many enemies. They certainly got a bit creative with the ways that she killed them too. Strangling, impaling, and so many were impaled in places you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Aside from this, the colors didn’t disappoint either. Bold coloring, not too heavy on the blood-red, and a solid range for the pallet used.
When you want to claim a weapon, you send a weapon to go get it. If you don’t know Roku? You’ll come to love her among many of the deadliest comic characters Valiant has to offer through the events of this first issue. Like any solo series you will get from Valiant, Roku #1 showed us that this was going to be another experience you weren’t going to get from any other series.