Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Red Dog #1 Review

"Red Dog" #1 from 451 Media Group -

        Far, far into the future, the planet, Kirawan, is the worst place. Ever. At least, that's what Kyle thinks. Kyle is a young human boy, the only child in a lonely human colony set on wasteland planet with an atmosphere extremely hostile to human habitation. Kyle, his loving mother, his gruff, hardworking father, and 193 other men and women are part of a charter colony mining for the most sought after element in the universe, Imperium, an element with properties that promise the realization of time travel. A lonely colony is even lonelier for a child with no friends his age; luckily, Kyle has Q, his beloved mechanical dog crafted for him by his doting uncle there in the colony. Kyle passes his days doing chores and schoolwork and playing with Q. But everything is about to change. Kirawan is an inhabited planet, and the denizens don't take kindly to uninvited guests. When the outgoing shipment of Imperium is attacked, the men of the colony take up arms to defend their export and their new home...And it looks like a curious Kyle is about to get trapped in the crossfire. Growing up on Earth is tough enough, but growing up on Kirawan just might be deadly. 

     From Rob Cohen, the director of "The Fast and the Furious," and "XXX," comes this pretty wonderful sci-fi coming-of-age tale, "Red Dog." Cohen does a perfect job of worldbuilding here, giving us a succinct, but satisfying, description of Kirawan, the human colony settled there, and the element, Imperium, that is the driving force behind the Earth-based economy. Told in caption boxes in the words of the protagonist, Kyle, Cohen effortlessly introduces us to his universe, and his protagonist. In only three pages, we feel very familiar with Kyle. Even better, we begin to care about him as we watch him trying to leave his childhood behind, struggling to be everything his father wants him to be, an effort that leaves him feeling as barren as the wasteland planet he inhabits. Cohen has created and an immensely interesting world and a young protagonist that elicited emotions from me that made me need to continue my journey with him. And I will do just that. Rob Atkins was on the pencils for "Red Dog" #1. His artwork was a bit stiff at times, but it was cinematic, fun and especially emphasized the tech elements of the story. "Red Dog is the classic "a-boy-and-his-dog" tale with some hostile bug-like aliens on an equally hostile planet - all metaphors for the various and sundry dangers a kid must successfully navigate on his / her way to adulthood. I'm a sucker for a sci-fi bildungsroman. 

RATING: 9 out of 10. This might be a sleeper hit, and I'm betting it will eventually make its way to the big or little screen. 

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