Writer: Ryan Parrott
Colors: Natália Marques
Letters: Becca Carey
Covers: Abel; Igor Monti
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: July 27th, 2022
It’s not easy being a teenage superhero. You have to learn about your new abilities, hide your secret identity, and not kill yourself while you’re practicing. But for Dylan, the newest ROGUE SUN, there is one more complication: bickering parents who want him to choose sides.
ROGUE SUN is a title that works on two levels. The obvious one is the reference to the titular character–the superhero identity Dylan has assumed. But it also works as a description of Dylan–a son who’s going rogue from his parents as their years-old conflict spills on to him. ROGUE SUN #6 pushes this idea further than any of the previous five issues as Dylan’s conflict with his parents pushes him into a level of independence he didn’t expect when his journey as ROGUE SUN began.
The previous issues of ROGUE SUN have developed a story that is easily seen as a metaphor for the petty fights divorced parents have in front of their children, trying to provoke the children into taking sides for the parents’ benefit–a kind of proof that they won the argument. ROGUE SUN #6 adds an exclamation point to this theme, putting Dylan in a position where he has to choose to resolve the situation. Ultimately he makes two choices and in the moment he does there’s a sense of him finding a new level of maturity and we can’t help but feel happy for him to finally be out of the uncomfortable situation he’s been in since ROGUE SUN began.
It’s not long before writer Ryan Parrott upends that feeling, though. Dylan discovers a measure of regret he didn’t expect and that sense of happiness we have for Dylan quickly turns to sympathy. Parrott skillfully handles the mood swings that can accompany adolescence, and those mood swings play into the conflicted feelings Dylan feels from the beginning of the issue.
When it comes to the other major characters in ROGUE SUN #6, Dylan’s parents Juliette and Marcus, Parrott has created two very distinct people. It’s hard to imagine these two have ever been a couple–they certainly don’t seem to be the kind of people that would finish each other’s sentences or even have much in common. Parrott also pushes against expectations somewhat as the parent who claims to have Dylan’s best interests at heart is the most aggressive in the confrontation, focusing anger not just on their former spouse but on Dylan as well. Meanwhile, it’s the absentee parent who’s trying (though at times failing) to approach the situation in a more level-headed manner.
There’s an interesting symbiosis at work with the art in ROGUE SUN #6. Artist Abel and colorist Natália Marques shine at different but specific times throughout the issue.
Abel’s strength here is in conveying the characters’ emotions, both through expressions and body language. He’s reasonably effective when it comes to the larger fight scenes, but that’s not what stands out about his work. In the more character-focused panels, we get the sense of what the characters are feeling, but the raw power and intensity of the fights don’t really come from him.
Instead, it’s Marques who shines in those moments. The vibrant color palette Marques uses for Juliette and Dylan’s powers is an effective way of showing us how much strength each of them has. And even when Dylan isn’t fighting, the mix of bright yellow and orange Marques uses for the flames pouring off him conveys the intensity behind his powers.
There’s very little to find fault with in ROGUE SUN #6. Parrott’s ability to tell a story that so obviously works as a metaphor while never letting the story trip over that is impressive. These themes have been at work since the series began and they haven’t grown stale. But the one thing that did grow tiresome early in this issue was how intense the more aggressive parent is in the fight. Given how Parrott ultimately resolves the conflict and further develops Dylan, though, this kind of near over-the-top attitude may have been necessary to give the teenager the kind of push that justified his decisions.
ROGUE SUN is one of those series that has improved with each issue which makes this one the best yet.