Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews

Rover Red Charlie #1Rover Red Charlie #1
Avatar Press
Ennis & Dispascale

It's difficult to understand how Garth Ennis can sleep at night. His latest launch at Avatar is a fairly simple idea: three dogs witness the end of civilization as they know it. The book has what you might expect from this type of Garth Ennis story. The comic book is equal parts sweet and brutal. The visuals provide some of the most horrific images you can image while some of the moments before and after are extremely tender. I'm not sold on the premise but this issue is enough to get me to pick up the next one and that is all you can ask for.

The comic book dives right into the action as one of the dogs is stuck to a man on fire while trapped in a burning subway station. The dog is a service dog and is confused as to why the man set himself on fire. The dog is torn between trying to help the man versus attempting to free himself.

Other dogs enter the scene and it is clear that they know each other and are all trying to make sense of what's happened. Eventually they make their way to the street level and the carnage is shocking. Is it as shocking as some of Ennis' other work? Not even close. But it is still extremely disturbing and then once witnessing the human's behavior the comic turns savage. It's griping, heart racing and not for the squeamish.

The aspect of the book that I'm not sold on is what the dogs do from here. Is this a survival book? Are they going to look for a cure? It's not clear they fully grasp what's happening as evidenced by the fact that they still approach humans hoping they are normal. Related to that, Ennis gives the dogs a voice when speaking to humans where they simply scream "I'm a dog!' which leads you to believe they are rather stupid. I'm not sure how well that will hold up long term.

Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle ReviewsThe visuals are not the house style for Avatar. Usually the books are dark and heavy on the inking while providing vivid and contrasting colors. This book is lighter on the inking but the line art is still fairly detailed. The coloring is a more muted pallet as well. This helps to give the book a much softer feel to the comic which seems to serve a story about sweet animals very well. However, the panels that are meant to shock do just that nonetheless, which seems counterintuitive to the artwork. I liked the visual presentation even if the content of the visuals are tough to look at times.

Rover Red Charlie is the coming of the apocalypse as seen through the eyes of dogs. It's an interesting idea and the first issue is gripping at times, but doesn't overwhelm as many first issues have the ability to do. This is one to pick up if you have a strong stomach and you like your end of humanity-type stories. I'm picking up the second issue.

3.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles