Rogue Sun #14 Review

Writer: Ryan Parrott

Art: Abel; Marco Renna

Colors: Natália Marques

Letters: Becca Carey

Covers: Luana Vecchio; Alex Moore

Publisher: Image Comics

Price: 3.99

Release Date: July 26th, 2023

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Rogue Sun #14 Review.

The Dispatch

A hero’s job is a thankless one. At least that’s what some people in ROGUE SUN #14 are thinking. And they definitely resent it. It’s a compelling idea to explore in a superhero book and one that doesn’t get examined very often. Unfortunately, Parrott’s decision to consider it here leads him to make one of the characters take a sudden and unearned pivot.

Dylan is trapped inside the Sun Stone in ROGUE SUN #14, and the last thing he wants is to see his father. Unfortunately for him, Caleb has placed a kind of bounty on his capture (but not death) which is motivating past Rogue Suns who are in the Sun Stone to seek him out. This leads Dylan’s father, who is trying to protect his son, to seek out Dylan’s grandfather (who we have learned was abusive in some way). He’s the one person in the Sun Stone who can help them. In the real world, Dylan/Caleb is drowning himself at a bar, reflecting on the fact that he never received credit for all the good he did as Rogue Sun in his time. People think he is obliged to do good rather than something to be celebrated. And he doesn’t like it.

Caleb’s behavior in ROGUE SUN #14 seems to come out of nowhere. While he was certainly selfish in banishing Dylan’s soul at the end of ROGUE SUN #13, all indications pointed to his wanting to renew his role as a heroic Rogue Sun. Here, however, he makes a heel turn and is wallowing in the thanklessness of his task. There is no transition between how he’s presented in the two issues, and it makes his change in attitude feel arbitrary and forced. It’s the first time in the series that a character’s arc reads as being motivated purely by the plot instead of the reverse.

But in a nice lead in to Caleb’s shift in motives, Parrott writes a scene where Dylan’s stepmother is talking to his grandmother. She expresses a sentiment similar to what Caleb does in the next scene as she complains that Dylan’s father never got the recognition he deserved for what he accomplished as Rogue Sun. Both of these scenes foreshadow this as a potential internal conflict that Dylan will face at some point, perhaps as he eventually confronts Caleb.

The added background for Dylan’s father is a welcome story element. When we saw him in the early issues, he was a generally disagreeable character even as he helped Dylan. We’re not particularly upset when Dylan banishes him. Parrott doesn’t make him totally sympathetic here, but the character is well on his way to a satisfying arc.

The Art and Letters

Rune’s Viking-stylized armor in ROGUE SUN #14 is an excellent blend of something new with Rogue Sun design elements we’ve already seen. To this point there hasn’t been much variation in the look of the armor. Abel’s depiction of Rune invites curiosity about what the person who is Rogue Sun can do. Can the armor look like anything? Can any kind of weapon be conjured? Are there limits to what the Sun Stone can do other than the bearer’s imagination? Abel’s realization of Parrott’s script is a major driver in building up these new mysteries about the Sun Stone.

Abel also draws a fantastic angry guy in a hoodie. There are two panels in particular where Dylan/Caleb is complaining about his lot in life. He looks back at the shocked bartender from beneath his hood and with his hair covering one eye. It’s more menacing than any flamboyant histrionics could accomplish. Parrott’s dialogue is certainly informative throughout this scene, but the attitude conveyed by Dylan’s depiction sells it for the dangerous heel turn that it is.

Marques adds to the menacing scene in the bar with the red coloring (thrown off by the lighting). It surrounds Dylan/Caleb as he sits, drinks, talks, and stares at the bartender. That red also contrasts with the second time we see the character. He is at home, drunk, and talking to his stepsister. He is back to acting the way he was in the previous issue. But this time it’s a front and he is planning on using his stepsister in the future. Marques uses a variety of blues here which gives the scene a colder feel. The reds add an almost villainous quality to Caleb’s new frame of mind while the blues lend themselves to support the cold calculations he’s already making for his new goals.

Carey’s lettering is fairly restrained in this issue. The issue’s sound effects are mostly confined to the fighting and traversing inside the Sun Stone. One of her best choices is the very subtle unevenness to Dylan’s lines of dialogue when he’s drunk. They’re just ever so swishy.

Final Thoughts

ROGUE SUN #14 does a lot of things right. It’s abrupt change in priorities for Caleb isn’t one of them unfortunately. It steals some of the thunder from the basic need of Dylan getting his body back which is the chief conflict coming into the issue. In a series that sees strong showings issue after issue, this is one that isn’t quite up to standard.


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