Advance Review: Exploring The Backstory In `Rogue Sun’ #10
by Tom Smithyman
A backstory dominates this issue – both in terms of action and artwork. Most of the book focuses on exposition and character development, but at the expense of some good old-fashioned fighting.
Exploring characters’ backstories is an essential part of any ongoing series. Understanding where he or she came from – even centuries in the past – can play a key role in shaping their future.
That’s why this issue of Rogue Sun begins with an extended flashback of Caleb Hawthorne, the first hero to bear the name back in the 1300s. We learn a bit more about Caleb’s origin and see him dispatch a medieval monster before jumping to modern times where he acts as the new adviser to Dylan Siegel.
Dylan recently inherited the Rogue Sun mantle from his deceased father. But Dylan being a…well rogue son, wanted nothing to do with the dad who abandoned his family years ago. Now Caleb has taken his place.
Writer Ryan Parrott’s ongoing story is interesting enough – it’s refreshing to see a teenage hero who isn’t squeaky clean – but this issue comes off as less than filling. All the action is on the first few pages, which took place 700 years in the past. Everything else is character development and exposition – hopefully in service of setting up something big in future issues. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make this chapter any more exciting. Even throwing in a random baddie of the month for a couple of pages would be refreshing.
Marco Renna subs for regular artist and co-creator Abel. While their styles are complementary, Renna doesn’t have a lot to work with in this issue once the action-packed flashback is over. It’s a lot of talking heads for much of the issue, until Dylan and Caleb visit the Aviary, a supernatural sanctuary filled with spying birds. Then the issue turns on its head – almost literally. The last few pages of the book are depicted vertically on the page, forcing readers to turn the comic or risk getting a kink in the neck while reading. It’s an interesting technique from a series that has lately been playing a little with its format – with mainly good results.
Readers will forgive an issue that slows down the overall pace of the narrative, especially to tell an important backstory, provided that things pick up soon thereafter. This is likely just a short detour on the road to an even stronger story in the long run.
Rogue Sun #10 will be available for purchase on Wednesday.