The comic division of Altered Reality Entertainment, AR Comics, is debuting their newest comic book on November 11th 2016 exclusively at Rhode Island Comic Con. The Rhode Warrior is a new superhero comic based on the titular character, Rhode Island’s very own superhero.
The Rhode Warrior follows the titular superhero in her battles with humanoid beings across Providence. The big bad is a monstrous villain called Big Horn. It’s established early that the Rhode Warrior’s methods are unorthodox; but get results.
The Rhode Warrior is a Thor like character. She can fly, has super strength, and wields a lightning mace rather than a hammer. Her costume is cool in its design, as is the mace. The best shot of the Rhode Warrior is at the end of the comic and is her first poster appearance dated 2014. Her Roman style skirt is belted with a giant R. A strips runs down the front intersecting with the R to match the RI comic con logo.
The story in the first issue is loose, at best. Big Horn is introduced then 90% of the issue is flashback following the Rhode Warrior, but not really about her. When the big showdown finally happens it lasts all of three panels. It’s boring and lacks purpose. The big bad lands a single blow and complains about the fight not being a challenge. He takes a single blow and complains about the fight being drawn out and boring. What?
The writing is hamfisted. Everything that should be implied is stated. It reads like the first draft of a procedural on TV where the characters tell each other the events that should be unfolding visually. The dialogue is far too wordy without real substance. Everything that is said could, and should, be shown on the page.
Almost the entire first issue takes place in an exposition heavy flashback. If this is the first issue why is everything a flashback? Why not just tell the story? Or tell your story and dip into the flashbacks later to develop the character.
Speaking of character development, with so much exposition, a disproportionate amount of words per panel in an action heavy book, and almost all of it being flashback, we are given NOTHING on the Rhode Warrior herself. Nor are we given set ups and promises that answers are coming.
It’s probably cool for the comic fans of Rhode Island to have a hero of their own but the hero is an empty shell with a cool design. All flash and no substance. The Rhode Warrior isn’t an intriguing enough concept to sustain an audience. The location specific identification is a bit limiting for no real reason. Specific streets and locations are thrust into the script to ground it in RI but there is no benefit story wise. Maybe if there was some indication as to who this character was. Why are aliens/monsters/ interdimensional beings attacking RI? What are the stakes? What is the story?
The team behind The Rhode Warrior are not without talent. The book is colorful and the drawings are good. The coloring fits the style of the book and it blends what is familiar about older aged superhero books with more modern art styles. The review copy So Wizard was sent was a low resolution PDF and even in that format the book looked good. A high res digital file or print version would be visually impressive.
There seems to be some thought in the writing. If the character made her debut in 2014 and the first book comes out in the final quarter of 2016 someone has been thinking about “Rhodie’s” adventures for a couple years at least. The writing reads like an early first draft and the wider story, assuming there is one, needs to be tightened to get some substance into the first book. This is the issue to grab a new audience into a new concept.
You can reserve your copy here or pick one up on Novermber 11th at the RI Comic Con.
Check out the Altered Reality Entertainment website.