In Review: R.R.H. #5

You’ve never seen Red Riding Hood take down wolves like this before.

The cover: Looking down upon a street that’s littered with all kinds of debris, two huge werewolves look as though they’re ready to spring upon the reader. The only thing seeming to keep them in check is the blue electrical energy around their necks that is tethered to each wrist of a beautiful woman wearing a purple dress. She is looking at reader, silently saying that she’s the only reason he or she is still alive. Excellent tease about what’s within this issue, though it does, sadly, spoil something major that occurs in the end. Still, it’s a great cover by Caanan White. Please note, the actual cover is much clearer than the image accompanying this review; I had to enlarge it to use for this site. Overall grade: A-

The story: Two werewolves realize that one of their own has fallen. Not far away, where their comrade has just been killed, Sydney puts her katana back into its sheath and checks to see if the pedestrian who was almost killed is okay. Once curing him of his shock, she tells him they have to get going because more will be coming. They run down the alley right into the pair of supernatural creatures. Sydney knows they can’t outrun them, so she says they have to outthink them. She draws her blade, sinks it into the cement, and tells him to sit on the ground behind her. This causes him to call her crazy, but she tells him if he wants to live, he should obey. He does and writer Orlando Harding then has something unbelievably gross and just as cool occur. This is a fantastic “Wow” moment! If this were a film, everyone would pause and rewind to watch this over and over again. Two people arrive on the scene and the book goes into different territory, but not before having a surprising scene on Page 18. Once done with this issue, that page will spark much speculation as to what’s going on with Sydney. As with previous issues, Harding does an exceptional job with the lead’s parents: I completely believe their relationship and there’s always a good amount of focus on them to expand their characters. This issue has a quiet scene go completely 180 by the end, introducing a new threat to the series. The reveal on the final page was somewhat spoiled by the cover, but the final panel leaves me wanting more. Overall grade: A

The art: On the first page readers can tell that artist Andres Esparza will not disappoint. The first panel shows the two werewolves, looking pretty horrific, with one howling and the other feeding. The second panel shows how tough Sydney is as she puts her blade away and proceeds to help the innocent bystander. He also creates a pretty humorous image in the final panel of the page. The second panel on Page 2 is a neat perspective which leads to the monsters arriving on the scene. The layout of the panels on 6 creates a good amount of tension, including one panel that’s looking straight down on the heroine and the monster to establish the distance between the two and how it’s shrinking. Page 9 is really graphic and it’s a spectacular culmination that was built up perfectly. The solution to the problem on Page 11 is nicely telegraphed by Esparza’s visuals in the first panel. The imagery again goes graphic on the next page, followed by some fun, tension relieving humor. And check out how cool Sydney looks at the bottom of Page 12: there’s no question that she’s the hero of this book. 18 is a full paged splash that teases something that will have to be explained in a future issue. The remainder of the book falls upon the parents to carry and it was neat to see Sydney’s parents relaxing, even if it’s momentary. I like the design of the characters that appear on 21 and I have to see more of them at some point. And just when it seems the book is winding down visually, Esparza gets to end with a shocking image that will spur readers to stake out their local comic stores to get the background on what they’re viewing. That’s how to create a cliffhanger! Overall grade: A

The colors: Steve Cobb really puts a good punch into the visuals of this book with his coloring. As with the art, the first page shows Cobb is going to do a great job on this book. The light that illuminates out of the monster’s eyes is creepy, the red hoodie that Sydney sports instantly draws a reader’s focus, and when something physical happens at the bottom of the page the colors go an intense orange to magnify the pain involved. Page 9 has a terrific mix of orange, yellow, red, and pale violet to make an intense scene a violent splash of colors. On 21 Cobb produces some outstanding lighting effects in blue, and it’s impossible not be swept away by his use of purple on the final page. Excellent work. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, yells, sounds, a scream, and a whisper are crafted by Ed Dukeshire. There’s a lot of dialogue for him to pack into certain panels, but he’s able to do so outstandingly without ever stepping onto important elements of the art. His sounds are really well done, with those at the bottom of Page 22 being a perfect match for the illustration. Overall grade: A

The final line: You’ve never seen Red Riding Hood take down wolves like this before. The action is solid, the drama good, and the illustrations great. This continues to be an incredibly entertaining read that will thrill fans of supernatural tales. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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