PopCultHQ received a preview copy of Red Dog #1 from 451 Media Group. In stores on November 16th, the creative team for this new series features writing from director/screenwriter Rob Cohen (XXX, Fast and the Furious) and writer Andi Ewington (Exmortis, Forty-Five), artist Robert Atkins (G.I. Joe), and cover artwork by W. Scott Forbes (Green Arrow, Doctor Strange).
Here is PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of Red Dog #1…
Red Dog is an upcoming science fiction title from 451 Media. Getting the opportunity to review this new release had me excited for three reasons (in no particular order):
- PopCultHQ has a great relationship with 451 and have been impressed as of late with their releases.
- I had recently posted on Facebook (my personal account) that I was looking for some sci-fi titles (preferably from an indie publisher) to read. That was surreal timing.
- I heard that Rob Cohen was attached to this series as co-writer, it certainly piqued my interest to see an accomplished screenwriter and director tell his story in comic book format.
The story follows Kyle, the only child on a distant mining colony and his loyal, robotic dog Quantum (or “Q” for short). You become immediately immersed into this world where conditions are harsh and the struggle is real. Our young protagonist faces a more personal struggle… living in the shadow of his deceased brother which translates into the son falling short in his father’s eyes. It is this emotionally-charged sub-story, which will not only have readers connect with characters, will be vital for the continued success and longevity as a series.
Cohen has the uncanny ability to get the reader emotionally invested in the series’ protagonist mere pages into the first issue. I’m a firm believer that if you can reach someone or connect with them on a personal and emotional level through your writing, you’ve definitely done something right. That will create fans. Keep fans. Gain fans.
One thing that I, personally, struggle with (to no fault of anyone other than myself) is when you have more than one writer, or even more than one artist, just whom it is you should be referring when pointing out highlights or a brilliant moment. I always want to give credit where credit is due and I certainly don’t want to come across as downplaying the other writer’s (or artist) contribution to the overall work. That being said I’ll address the story giving credit to both writers (and they can duke it out on who thought of what). 🙂
You get a feel for a bit of Star Wars: A New Hope throughout this issue; a distant, dry planet, young boy on a farm, the conflict of living with a small population. But it goes deeper than that. There’s stronger character development, the advanced technology found on the planet is featured more (in a good way), and the characters are recognizable and relatable. The inclusion of a newly found element, “Imperium,” and its importance for the creation of traveling through time and space, make for a story you would like to follow in order to see it explored further. Plus, I really liked how that though this distant land may be light years away from Earth, they’re still connected by means of uploading resources to their former world. Also, the almost savage battle with the planet’s original inhabitants keep you on alert that you don’t want to get too comfortable in this land.
And the ending? Talk about cliffhanger AND heart-string puller.
I don’t think I’ve ever described artwork in a comic book as such but Robert Atkins delivers a very endearing and poignant depiction of the plight humans face in a different world. The harsh conditions of the environment jump off the pages from Atkins’ illustrations. The choices of colors employed add to the described nature of this world with its dusty and dry earth, the arid and bleak look to the air quality, and the bitter coldness that can come for living on a sparsely uninhabited planet. His pairing with Cohen and Ewington is brilliant as the writers’ vision is fully captured through the artist’s work.
I generally don’t mention cover artists in my reviews as often there are multiple covers, thus meaning multiple artists. But W. Scott Forbes has taken the essence of the book (the characters, environment and its harshness, etc.) and beautifully churned out a cover (image at the top of this page) which has all the characteristics and feel of what likely could become a memorable and iconic look that fans and future readers will remember vividly as the image associated with the debut issue of Red Dog.
There are a lot of possibilities for this series to explore. The writing is superb and is able to convey its message and intent with the words chosen. The artwork certainly would make me come back for more as I am curious to visualize more of this world through Cohen and Ewington’s writing and Atkins’ illustrations. With this being released and available in mid-November, much of the success of this series will come the first quarter of 2017. With a good push for its late Fall premiere, this title has the potentiality to become 2017’s “Sci-Fi to Buy.” And that’s a good thing!
PopCultHQ’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Synopsis for Red Dog #1:
Some say there’s no greater love in the universe than the love a boy has for his dog. For Kyle, the only kid living amongst 200 grownups on a distant mining colony light-years away from Earth, that saying is a given. Welcome to Kirawan, a planet that Kyle calls, “the worst place you could ever imagine.” Kyle stumbles through his days doing his chores hoping to live up to the steep demands of his father, the head of the planet’s mining operation. Still, it’s not all bad, there’s Q, Kyle’s robotic K-9, basically the greatest pet in the known universe. However, during an upload of resources bound for earth, the alien natives of Kirawan launch a full scale attack on the human miners. Welcome to the world of Red Dog, the new groundbreaking adventure series from the screenwriter of Fast and the Furious and XXX.
Be sure to follow the creative team!
Publisher 451 Media Group:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/451official/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/451official
- Website: http://www.4five1entertainment.com/
Writer Rob Cohen:
Writer Andi Ewington:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andi.ewington
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndiEwington
- Comic Book DB: http://www.comicbookdb.com/creator.php?ID=25043
Artist Robert Atkins:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertatkinsart
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/robertatkinsart
- DeviantArt: http://robertatkins.deviantart.com/
- Website: http://robertatkinsart.blogspot.com/
Cover Artist W. Scott Forbes: