PopCultHQ received a preview copy of Red Dog #2 from 451 Media Group. In stores on January 11th, 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), pencils by Robert Atkins (G.I. Joe), inks by Brian Shearer, Ernest Jocson, and Marc Peruggia, colors from John Rauch, letters from Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios, and cover artwork by W. Scott Forbes (Green Arrow, Doctor Strange) and Tom Velez.
Here is PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of Red Dog #2…
Red Dog #2
Writer: Rob Cohen
Adapted by: Andi Ewington
Art: Robert Atkins
Cover Price: $3.99
Whoever said, ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,’ never met Q. A birthday gift from his uncle Jake, the cyber canine is more than a companion to the young Kyle. Q is Kyle’s best and only friend. And on the planet Kirawan where mining the time-travel mineral Imperium is all anyone does, having a companion like Q counts for just about everything, including saving Kyle from an alien assault from the hostile insectoid Kira intent on eradicating the human colonists from their planet!
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
Red Dog #2
On the far side of the galaxy, on the barren alien planet Kirawan, teen aged Kyle is the sole young person in the all adult domed installation. The colony has come to the planet to mine the sought after mineral Imperium. Alone, except for his best and only friend “Q”, a cyber canine, Kyle knows there’s a world outside the dome. What he doesn’t know is just how dangerous and lethal that world can be with the planet’s inhabitants and otherworldly creatures that lay in wait in the uncharted territory of Kirawan.
RED DOG issue two takes everything that made its debut issue great, cranked it up, and tore off the knob. The entire creative team associated with this project is so in sync, that what is produced is a perfect blend of fantastic storytelling and artistic beauty. The book is filled with harsh conditions, emotion, turmoil, and a glimpse of hope.
One of the (many) things I love about RED DOG is it puts the science back into science fiction. For example, say you’re taking a friend, significant other, family member, or what have you, to see Star Wars. Perhaps they’ve never seen it before or whatever, and there are a number of references or terminology you either need to explain or want to explain to better help them understand just what the heck is going on. RED DOG is reminiscent of recent sci-fi hit films like The Martian or Passengers that appeal to a larger audience for the fact they can just sit an enjoy a movie without having to be deep into science fiction or to be confused throughout the flick.
The affection which Q has for Jake is unparalled in a comic, especially for a non-anthropomorphized pet. I can’t recall the last time I read a comic book where that emotion between a boy and his pet was so powerful and endearing that it’ll affect readers’ emotion in such a profound way. You feel it jump off the pages.
Writer Rob Cohen has this glorious, futuristic story in his mind and it is wonderful to see it revealed with each issue. There are times throughout RED DOG #1 & #2 where you just know something is different about this book. Cohen’s resumé is on full display as he brings his passion for filmmaking and embeds it into this emotionally-driven sci-fi epic. As more is revealed in this issue (on a number of levels), it excites me to know that we’ve only begun to tap into Cohen tale. Talk about someone with an Imagination to Burn! 😉
One of the remarkable aspects of RED DOG is its cinematic feel. The story flows as a movie; seamless, smooth transitioning, and strategically placed panels and story delivery executed to perfection. Though I wholeheartedly understand Rob Cohen receiving a great amount of praise for this series, of which he rightfully deserves, a lot of that is really due to Andi Ewington’s writing. Adapting someone else’s story can be quite the undertaking, as pressure builds from not only wanting to showcase to the readers your talents as a writer, but in your attempt to make the creator’s story come to life on the pages and his vision shine. Plus, if it’s a success, the creator receives a lot, if not most, of the credit, whereas if it falls flat, often it’s the individual who adapted the story who is scrutinized. I don’t envy Andi’s position (been there more times than I can count) but I admire and respect the hell out of him for it. With his delivery, pace, dialog, you name it, the hard-working Ewington shows that regardless the accolades, he is a humble writer who cares more about releasing quality than praise. You know, the moniker “Altruistic” Andi Ewington could stick 😉
Robert Atkins, along with his artistic team, is in his element. He has created a spectacular landscape, has a great eye for visuals and angles, and adds a screenwriting component-like feel himself. This is the artist you want penciling this series. Just as Cohen and Ewington are the RED DOG story, Atkins is the planet Kirawan and its inhabitants, the technology, the environment, everything tangible.
The illustrations, especially of the characters and cybernetic canines, are ripe with detail and intricacy. Every moment that features Kyle’s dog impresses me as Atkins is quite skilled at giving Q (and the new breeds) a sense of realism. From the way the robot pooch looks physically and to his movements and mannerisms, I’ve seen quite a number of dogs illustrated in comics who don’t appear as life-like as Atkins has made the series lead cyber canine. The way Robert draws these pets, you can really get one of these, right? I want a Q for myself!
I wanted to mention the inkers involved in the project because looking back at my review of the first issue, I realized I hadn’t given them the proper credit the deserve with their contributions to the book. For that, gentlemen, I do sincerely apologize. It’s intriguing to me that there are three inkers on a single issue, non-trade or anthology, and to be honest I’m not sure exactly how that works. But I do know this…with all I stated about Robert Atkins art and penciling in the last section, and what I am about to in the next for colors, couldn’t be the praiseworthy material it is without the help of these integral artists to the project. It’s their work in creating depth and dimension, accents and all, that allows the colorist on the title produce top-notch work as well. These guys aren’t tracers!
<Scene from ‘Chasing Amy’ ft. Jason Lee – NSFW; feel free to view later, not necessary for review>
I want to apologize to colorist John Rauch, who I also did not include in my last review. It’s Rauch’s contributions which help give Kirawan its essence. The arid atmosphere and harsh conditions are fully realized from his work. Never distracting or too bold, his use of earthtones and more subdued colors blend nicely on the pages, as well as in the story. As mentioned above regarding art, John is really the artist that brings the pencils and inks to life and add depth to the characters. This team of Atkins, Shearer, Jocson, Peruggia, and Rauch are what injects the story with a fantastic spectacle on display that any sci-fi fan will appreciate.
Taylor Esposito not only brings experience to RED DOG, he brings value and excellence. His near-omnipresence, as he’s tackling a number of lettering duties across a number of issues, titles, and publishers, shows that this highly sought-after workhorse has his game on lock-down. Simply put, if you want a strong letterer with experience, Esposito will deliver and then some. What he adds to the final product is definitely worth every cent!
The way that the young character Kyle is written and portrayed is quite instrumental to the success of this series. Though rather young, without other children inhabiting Kirawan and realizing the magnitude of what it means to live there, he’s written in a welcoming more adult way, while still experiencing childhood realities (e.g. feeling you fail short in a parent’s eyes, wanting to be accepted, the loving bond between one and his pet). If Kyle had been written more as a brat or whiney, it would get old quick. So having him around adults, knowing he’s being groomed to be one, was the perfect move for RED DOG. The art also goes so splendidly hand-in-hand with the writing, you will literally feel the emotions of which a robot dog has for his owner. The love, the bond, the loyalty, all expressed and conveyed in a way that is chock full of the feelz.
Although we’re still in January, and only a mere two issues in, RED DOG is one of 2017’s “Sci-Fi to Buy” and you can expect it’ll be included in “Top Sci-Fi Comic Books of 2017” and “Best Of…” lists come the end of the year. This series is not only for science fiction buffs either. The characters are as relatable as likely someone in your family. With its dynamic narrative and talented creators, this well-rounded, action-packed, emotionally-feuled title needs to be on your pull list. 451 Media has put together a brilliant ensemble of creators for RED DOG and has a winning title on their hands to kick off the New Year!
PopCultHQ’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Be sure to look for RED DOG #2
at your local comic shop and online retailers on January 11th!
Be sure to follow the creative team!
Artist – Robert Atkins (pencils):
Artist – Ernest Jocson (inks):
Artist – Marc Peruggia (inks):
Artist – Brian Shearer (inks):