Rover Red Charlie

Rover Red Charlie 5 (March 2014)

Rover Red Charlie #5Ennis sure does like going out on an ominous ending with this one. It’s somewhere between a hard and soft cliffhanger; maybe a soft-boiled one. He hints at disaster earlier too, rather blatantly. Hopefully his time to cop out with a dream sequence has passed.

Not a lot happens in the issue. He skips across the dogs crossing a desert, which seems like it would take quite a while and not just a few panels. The emphasis, besides Red (who isn’t fixed) meeting a lady dog (who looks like Lassie), is on the dogs learning to want for themselves. It’s pretty forced stuff, but Ennis is coasting on good will. Even the lamer scenes, like them coming across yet another dog who knows more about what’s going on, Ennis can coast through them too. His cast is strong enough.

It’s not a bridging issue as much as a shortcut one.

B- 

CREDITS

The Big Big; writer, Garth Ennis; artist and colorist, Michael DiPascale; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

Rover Red Charlie 4 (February 2014)

Rover Red Charlie #4Ennis utilizes a very effective device this issue–he has such a great last scene, it overrides the issue’s problem. What problem? Three things happen the entire issue.

One of the friends tries cooking duck, the friends meet an army dog, the friends meet an infected dog. Three things. Ennis drags out the army dog meeting, which doesn’t really service much purpose other than to show how different dogs think. Of course, that level of examination seems more appropriate for an ongoing, not a limited series.

He also makes an effort to hint at whatever has driven the humans crazy. There’s no place in the series to give an answer to the reader–the narrating dog realizes he’s been on his own long enough he wants to know why, but it’s for him (and he wants to know why about many things now).

It’s still good and thoughtful, just slight.

B 

CREDITS

Walked Off to Look for America; writer, Garth Ennis; artist and colorist, Michael DiPascale; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

Rover Red Charlie 3 (January 2014)

Rover Red Charlie #3Every once in a while, Garth Ennis must decide he has to do something to remind everyone how thoroughly raunchy he can get. Unlike a lot of his recent work, his raunchy moment in this issue of Rover Red Charlie works a lot like how it worked in Preacher. With witnesses echoing the reader’s plea for Ennis not to take things there.

It’s foul, but the foul isn’t bad. It’s just foul and gross and sticks in one’s mind’s eye even after the page–and comic–has passed.

Of course, having Dipascale’s sweet art for that moment makes it even more intense.

This issue, Ennis introduces a lot. Characters, ideas, about the only thing he doesn’t introduce are new dog vocabulary terms. There are a few, but nothing as memorable as before.

Sorry to be so myopic….

The issue’s solid, formulaic but still engaging. The soft cliffhanger’s too ominous though.

B 

CREDITS

God Backwards; writer, Garth Ennis; artist and colorist, Michael DiPascale; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

Rover Red Charlie 2 (December 2013)

Rover Red Charlie #2Ennis brings in the cats. The hisspots. I can’t spoil the twists and turns with them, but he does a great job with it.

He ends the issue on a very melancholy note and one has to wonder if he’s just lost his ability to riff. He needs to be more controlled, more thoughtful, more measured. Like his comics can’t grow organically, they need to be regimented.

And it works for Rover Red Charlie. He creates genuine concern for the three main characters, probably utilizing a reader’s built in sympathy for animals, even though most of his effort is spent expanding the dog mind.

He knows he’s doing it. If it weren’t for the vocabulary, how he uses the exposition, not to mention DiPascale’s art, the ending would flop. Instead, it’s a cheap glorious, but glorious nonetheless.

However, Ennis has four issues left. Lots of time to trip himself up.

B+ 

CREDITS

A Distant Shore; writer, Garth Ennis; artist and colorist, Michael DiPascale; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

Rover Red Charlie 1 (November 2013)

290505 20131214195121 largeI was sort of expecting Rover Red Charlie to be a Crossed spin-off. It’s Garth Ennis doing a story where people go nuts and start killing each other in awful ways. Why not do something sly like a crossover.

You know, for marketing.

Only Charlie is unexpected because Ennis is doing something he hasn’t done much lately and usually not at Avatar. He’s trying. He’s setting up characters, he’s showing his soft side, he’s working in the insane terminology of dogs. It’s crazy inventive as far as the dogs go, not just how their society works, but how Ennis shows their perspective of the apocalypse. It’s awesome.

It helps he’s got Michael DiPascale on the art. The style is just right. DiPascale draws the dogs like it’s a greeting card and the end of the world with fresh eyes. Literally. It’s very clean apocalypse.

Ennis certainly raises one’s expectations.

B+ 

CREDITS

Something Happened; writer, Garth Ennis; artist and colorist, Michael DiPascale; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

Scroll to Top