Action Lab Entertainment 2017
Written by Vito Delsante
Illustrated by Sean Izaakse & Lee Gaston
Coloured by Chris O’Halloran & Wilson Ramos Jr.
Lettered by Full Court Press
Rodney Weller, the former sidekick of the Doberman known as the Rottweiler, is back. Going by the name Stray, he has avenged his father’s death by defeating the murderous duo, Duette. Since then, he has reunited with his childhood friend, Molly Danger, and has begun a friendship with Midnight Tiger. This trio defeated Hyena in his quest for the Savage Maxim and also teamed with other heroes to save the world from being annihilated by Cascade. So what’s next well we’re about to find out!
So while there will undoubtedly be parallel’s between these and other “larger company characters” I love that they go right on ahead and embrace that. What’s really different is how the characters are portrayed. Vito has been absolutely incredible showing us Rodney’s life now and how he’s dealt with everything thrown at him so it’s time to go a little further. It’s time to bring us a current adventure that has it’s roots in the beginnings of his teenage group. I do have to admit that while it’s very similar to what we’re all thinking that they’ve managed to also set it apart rather nicely at the same is extremely well done. I do like the more hands on approach that the older set takes here and the ramifications and possibilities it represents.
Oh how I’ve missed Sean’s work here. I’m just sorry it wasn’t throughout the entire issue. His eye for storytelling, his attention to detail and the kind of classic superhero style he brings makes it a joy to behold. On the other hand Lee’s not so much, at least for me. Just because we go to a time when Rodney is thirteen doesn’t mean we have to have work done by someone who’s thirteen. I kind of get the desire to make it more all-ages in nature but c’mon now this is very amateurish and too simplistic. The lack of backgrounds and the generic faces that have the most basic amount of detail yeah not something I’m a fan of and honestly set the look back.
Thankfully what Vito is doing with the story far outweighs any of the negative I have with the interior artwork, flashbacks. It’s like I’m finally getting to see the man behind the curtain as it were and we are now privy to seeing just how controlling the adults were and why Rodney would grow up to resent them so much for how he was treated. The level of storytelling using plot development and characterisation here is extraordinary to see. There isn’t a time during this issue where we don’t hang on the words and descriptions being used as well as allowing the reader to use their imagination to scope things out more fully as well predict how things will play out. That Vito can engage his audience in such a way as this is why I am such a fan of his work.
I admit too that while the trio that forms Rotty’s team isn’t the tried and true version we are so used to it’s got a great eclectic feel to it. Seeing them in training and hearing the grown up assessment of how they are doing yeah it’s easy to see how Vito is sowing the seeds for what we see in the future as well as continuing to make all seem as natural as can be now. That we can see how the future is tied to the past in this way is amazing on so many levels.
While this isn’t the creation of the characters we do see them in a whole new light of both what is, what will be and the possibilities of everything in-between. So it very much is akin to discovering them for the first time all over again and you can’t put a quantifiable quality to that. Also while it’s very much a “Man’s World” the diversity we see is nicely done as well.
This is a perfectly great little series, while okay I slam the quality of the flashback interior artwork because it honestly doesn’t live up to how the book opens, that doesn’t mean on the whole this isn’t something that you won’t easily fall for in the purest sense of enjoyment. It’s got that incredible blend of a past that is familiar combined with that nostalgia is a promise for a future that feels natural and not as dark as we’re seeing elsewhere. Throwback modern, that’s it in a nutshell.