Red Rooster a Comic Worth Crowing About

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Red Rooster #1

The comic book chase of 2020 isn't the search for BATMAN #92 or HELL ARISEN #3. Rather, it's the Quest for Allegiance, the upstart comic book company that bypassed the direct market and instead brokered a landmark distribution deal with the corporate juggernaut, Wal-mart. Mitch Breitweiser and his team have released four comic book series -- NORAH'S SAGA, BASS REEVES, THE FUTURISTS, and RED ROOSTER -- to the ubiquitous retail chain, complete with its own endcap display to highlight the item.

But it wasn't the smoothest launch. Not every Wal-mart put the books out, and since the books weren't typically displayed with the rest of the books and magazines, they were difficult to find in the store if that store had them in the first place. They were frequently in the toy department, and we have one report of them having been found in the electronics section.

I found mine on an endcap in the main aisle -- minus the bright red cardboard endcap display, set up on plain metal shelves beneath discounted copies of the Pioneer Woman cookbook. And, yes, just like reports from various other successful hunts, my copies also had also had stickers placed on them, even though the stores don't put similar stickers on any other periodicals and even though the books had the retail bar code on the back.

But the hunt for Allegiance comics is a story all unto itself. What you want to know from this review is: Is it worth the hunt at all?

In regards to RED ROOSTER, the answer is a resounding: Yes!

RED ROOSTER, created and written by Allegience CEO Breitweiser, features to date some of the most original and detailed art ever to grace a comic. Artist Mark Pellegrini and colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser give the story a watercolor approach that views comic books through a Norman Rockwell lens appropriate to the era of the story. Red Rooster and the Order of the Dawn are real mystery men -- heroes who help take down bad guys. But they are also public figures, who have been trademarked and obtain sponsorships. The Rooster himself is struggling to film a soda pop commercial, with overtones of the classic Ovaltine revelation from A CHRISTMAS STORY. His sidekick, Strongboy, is frustrated that Prohibition keeps him from getting a decent beer, and is also tired of the posing they are forced to do instead of "getting their hands dirty" doing the real work of crimebusting.

Strongboy gets his wish when the curvacious Midnight shows up with news that a series of prison breaks have released a slew of Rooster's rogues back into the public, and they're all headed to the same location. The villains are straight out of a Dick Tracy lineup, with disfigurements or traits or names that make them unique and immediately interesting. And the man bringing them all together had a goal in mind beyond killing Red Rooster; he wants to deliver a far more crushing blow to the masked man that is worse than mere death.

RED ROOSTER was crowdfunded originally as a graphic novel, and there has been some upheaval in that community because the first chapter arrived in Wal-mart stores as a floppy before the graphic novel itself fulfilled. Reportedly, the publishing company had to make this move in order to secure the Wal-mart deal, and the online backers are still going to be getting their graphic novel and any attendant stretch goals; they just won't be getting the exclusive first-look at the story (or at least the first chapter of it).

As for this issue, the only criticism this reviewer can render is on the Red Rooster costume itself, which changes in mid-story from striped leggings to a pair of rope-belted boxer shorts over white tights without explanation. However, it's not a change that occurs mysteriously in the middle of the same scene; there's a decent passage of time between the two costume appearances that would allow for this to happen with a good reason.

Overall, RED ROOSTER #1 is a very recommended title that exemplifies all that was great about the Golden Age of comic book supeheroes.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0