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Review – Roku #1 (Valiant Entertainment)

Roku #1 (Valiant Entertainment) cover C (detail) by Marc Laming
Overall
7/10
7/10
  • Writing - 7/10
    7/10
  • Art - 7/10
    7/10
  • Overall - 7/10
    7/10
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Roku #1

Writer: Cullen Bunn 
Artist: Ramón F. Bachs
Colorist: Stéphane Paitreau
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Maturity Rating: Teen+
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Release Date: October 30, 2019

Roku, with psychic powers and elite training, makes for a deadly assassin, and she is worth the money to get her assistance. But sometimes the job requires more.

 

Roku Has a New Mission in Roku #1

One of Valiant Entertainment’s most deadly assassins jumps into her very own four-issue mini-series in Roku #1. The natural-born killer Roku, with her psychic abilities (including death-dealing hair), is doing what she does best: being a killer for hire. She is worth every penny, as not many can pull off the feats of Roku. But now on a new mission that pays way more than normal, something mysterious comes up, something that can’t be killed or bought, something that will make Roku change the mission completely.

Writing

Roku #1 (Valiant Entertainment) cover A by Dave Johnson
Roku #1 (Valiant Entertainment) cover A by Dave Johnson

This is my first exposure to the character of Roku, who hasn’t been around that long; and this is also the first Valiant book I have read since Savage came out in 2016/2017! Luckily, veteran comic book writer Cullen Bunn pens Roku #1, so it wasn’t so hard to jump into. Bunn throws us right into the mix and lets his story unfold while delving into who Roku is throughout the issue. He does a good job of dropping information in about her without doing a huge information dump. We get little bits about her powers and upbringing here and there as the story progresses.

I do wish Bunn had explained her whole “Psychokinetic Hair” power; it would have helped a little bit. The story itself is pretty straightforward, and has some interesting points, with Roku having to make maybe some moral decisions that it seems she is not used to. I do hope Bunn makes Roku into a little more sympathetic character; she is a little hard to get behind in this first issue. 

Art

Ramón F. Bachs delivers a more cartoony style than I was expecting in Roku #1 but, for me, it works well with Bunn’s writing style. Bachs has a nice animated type styling to his art and character design. It is not fully cartoony, it still has depth of realism in the characters, but it is a more cartoonish feel that I think is enhanced by Stéphane Paitreau’s softer and brighter color palette. It all seems to fit the tone and the feel of the issue well.

The book is also very violent, which the more animated style helps it not feel as graphic or gory. But the art team does not shy away from showing some gruesome deaths that help build up the character of Roku as a ruthless assassin well. 

For me, the major setback with the art has to do with characters’ faces and overall acting and storytelling of the art. When the characters are not fighting, they feel a bit stiff, and the faces really don’t help tell the story or add anything to it emotionally with how they are reacting. Also, there are some small body positioning details that feel a bit off that stand out in the issue as well. When the action hits it looks good and everything flows well. 

Conclusion

Overall I enjoyed Roku #1. It was a solid first issue and easy for a new reader to jump into. I don’t know how well it gets me involved or invested in the character, but it is a solid first start. It feels like a “What If…” story if Marvel combined Medusa and Black Widow with some psychic powers. Which isn’t a bad idea. Despite a few technical things, overall, I dug the art as well. The more animated styling felt at home with the writing of the character.

I also made it through this whole review without making one Roku streaming service pun, so you are welcome!


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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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