PopCultHQ received a review copy of RED DOG #3 from 451 Media Group. In stores now, the creative team for this series features writing from director/screenwriter Rob Cohen (XXX, Fast and the Furious) and writer Andi Ewington (Exmortis, Ian Livingstone’s Freeway Fighter), illustrations by Alex Cormack (Oxymoron, Future Proof), 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 #3…
Cover Price: $3.99
Red has gone missing. With the other cyber canines by his side, Kyle sets out into the desolate and deadly landscape of Kirawan to find his best friend. With love and loyalty overriding the dangers of the alien wilderness that wait outside the safety of the Colony, Kyle defies his father’s warning to stay inside the Dome, and sets out to track down Red and bring him back home. Facing the challenges of survival in a hostile environment from dangers he has never experienced before is only the beginning of Kyle’s ordeal. Little could Kyle have known that he would find himself in the center of a centuries old war!
Previously in RED DOG:
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
RED DOG #3
The Council assembles to discuss issues facing the colonists of Kirawan. In this case, it’s young Kyle and his robotic dogs. Issue three continues with its strong meta-narrative for life of a young (and only) boy on a remote world: the hard work ethic required, the value of companionship, and the desire to be loved. But how can someone so young, so naïve, be expected to work, think, and act like an adult? It’s human nature for him to want to have fun, to dream, and to have peers who accept him for who he is and expects nothing less?
The bond Kyle has with his robo-pets, especially with Red, is filling that void within him. Even if only momentarily, he’s able to forget how lonely he truly is without friends of his age. But often that can come at a price. Consumed with the joy he receives by interacting with his loving pets, it is this naiveté that has him blinded to true danger. With the native insectoid Kira an ever-present threat outside their dome, it’s of the utmost importance that Kyle realizes the gravity of the situation these inhabitants impose. Inside the dome, it may feel like a safe world at times, but the bitter reality is you must always be aware of what could happen.
Andi Ewington is doing an exceptional job at adapting Rob Cohen’s story. I can only imagine how difficult it can be taking a story and laying it out in a way that advances the story in a timely manner but also reveals just the right amount of spoilers or “big” moments.
Though this issue felt like it was connecting on a personal and emotional level rather than further advancing the inevitable confrontation between the humans and the alien race, in re-reading the issue I can tell this is certainly going to have a greater impact as the series comes to a close. Ewington certainly has achieved the often difficult task at not only making the reader identify with the characters, but become emotionally invested. The only problem with that is I feel there’s something in the works, most likely death(s), and knowing how Andi can write will likely tug at the heartstrings but make me love this title even more.
Alex Cormack takes over interior art from Robert Atkins and comes through like a champ. Clearly he has studied Atkins’ illustrations in the first two issues and honors Robert’s work terrifically here in issue three. The first thing you may think to yourself, as did I briefly, is how Cormack’s style may differ or even possibly detract from prior art. To be honest, that thought left my mind once I read pages one and two. It was subtle and impressive. Alex has instilled confidence in me that, if he continues as the illustrator for the remaining issues, the artwork throughout will be one consistent masterpiece. Welcome to team Red Dog, Alex!
Colorist John Rauch continues capture the essence of this distant world. From the arid atmosphere to the rough, gritty environment, the colors are what make this landscape believable. Not too sci-fi where it’s hard to grasp conceptually, but more of a realistic defining quality. The earth tones are well-muted are just emit the warmth and dryness of Kirawan. It’s the perfect color palette for RED DOG and Rauch’s got this look down! <Note: Dear 451, do not let Rausch go from this series as his work carries as much weight as the storyline and would be challenging for someone to emulate 😉 >
What can I say about Taylor Esposito’s work on RED DOG #3 that hasn’t already been said? Esposito shows why he is one of the top letterers in the industry: smart placement, seamless transitioning, and the ability to add a dynamic which contributes to the feel and flow of Cohen’s story. Simply put, Taylor continues to show the value of a great letterer. He always delivers high-quality work and is an asset to any project, regardless of title or publisher.
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
RED DOG #3 is a solid output from the creative team. The art is sharp and the mood is captured seamlessly from earlier issues. The story did slow a bit from last issue but did further develop the character of the young lead in the series. Seeing Kyle striving to show he can be responsible, yet the naiveté of his age unavoidable at times, makes for a great tale of maturation. It’s endearing, it’s heartwarming, and it’s relatable.
Though this issue primarily focused on Kyle and his dogs, the landscape is about to open up. Now halfway through the miniseries, the impending battle between the colonists and the native Kira is on the horizon and it looks to be intense. The foundation of the series has been established in the first three issues and you get the sense that issue four is gonna bring it! 451 Media may not produce as many titles or with the frequency of many publishers, but when they do it’s solid work throughout. RED DOG is another example of how 451 carved their niche in the comic book world as a reliable publisher when it comes to quality.
PopCultHQ’s Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Be sure to look for RED DOG #3
at your local comic shop and online retailers!
Be sure to follow the creative team!
Writer – Rob Cohen
Writer – Andi Ewington
Artist – John Rauch
Letterer – Taylor Esposito
Publisher – 451 Media Group