There’s a Hero in New Orleans, They Call Him Rogue Sun
Bullies have been an important trope in the super-hero genre for decades. Flash Thompson actually has lines, a whole page before Peter Parker does, in Amazing Fantasy #15. He’s also appeared in 7 out of the 8 Spider-Man movies made in the last 20 years. All too often, bullies like Flash are used as catalysts, an easy to hate early-story antagonist for our hero to overcome with no real motivation or reason for their cruelty. But what happens when it’s the bully who ends up with superpowers? That’s the question at the center of Rogue Sun, the new comic by Ryan Parrott and Abel that releases on March 2nd.
Rogue Sun #1 continues to follow Marcus Bell, the titular hero who premiered a week earlier in Super Massive, as he protects New Orleans from a new threat who is a mysterious stranger in armor and a green cloak. This stranger knows Marcus’ identity, a thing or two about the function of his fiery powers, and uses this knowledge to strike him down in an action-packed prologue. This is not Marcus’ book, however, the real protagonist of this story is his son, Dylan Siegel.
Dylan is a dick. A High School bully who shoves kids in lockers, makes others do his homework for him, and I don’t even want to know what the “Port-A-Potty thing” was. The news of his father’s death doesn’t seem to phase him. His hatred of the man who abandoned him and his mom seems all too genuine, but he learns a lot more as the issue goes on and you begin to wonder if his attitude remains genuine or if it’s his only defense. His father remarried and was extremely rich. Dylan has two half-siblings he never knew about, and not to mention the fact that his father was secretly a superhero and Dylan now gets to inherit his powers.
As the story unfolds, it’s impossible for the reader not to play detective a little bit. The Green Cloak (no official name for this baddie yet) knew Marcus’ identity, knew that he drew his power from the Sun Stone, and knew how to get past Rogue Sun’s armor to land a killing blow. Clearly, this is someone close to Marcus, and there are a few suspects introduced. Suave is a mirror-helmeted gentleman thief that Dylan has to fight on his first outing as Rogue Sun, but he prefers not to kill when it can be avoided. While, it’s possible he’s The Green Cloak, it seems unlikely because he was genuinely surprised that someone new had taken up the Rogue Sun mantle. He’s likely a recurring low-level bad-guy, but I hope he sticks around because his flowing words and swordplay clashed with Dylan’s brutish attacks in an extremely entertaining altercation.
Marcus’ family are also suspects. His wife Juliette, daughter Aurie, and son Brock, all knew his secret identity and how his powers worked. Brock, in particular, expected to inherit the Sun Stone instead of Dylan. Could one of them have been behind the Green Cloak? Looking for revenge or an early inheritance? Perhaps, Dylan’s mother resented Marcus for remarrying and becoming so successful and rich, while she and Dylan had to scrape mold off of bread. Or perhaps Marcus’ lawyer, Mr. Abernathy, wanted to profit by selling his client’s secrets to the highest bidder. Whoever The Green Cloak is, it’s likely about to turn their attention to Dylan, as his career as Rogue Sun is about to begin.
So now the bully has to become the hero, and it’s in this twist on the familiar hero’s journey that Rogue Sun really finds something special. Even though, there are many reasons to hate Dylan (many listed earlier in this review!), you really want to see him succeed. Unlike bullies that exist only to motivate other characters, you can tell that Dylan is just a kid that’s had it rough and thinks his actions are the only way to survive. That kid he made do his homework and shoved in the locker? That’s Byron and Dylan thinks of him as his best friend. The girl from the Port-A-Potty incident? That’s Vanessa and Dylan desperately wants her attention. In a weird way, a lot of Dylan’s lashing out seems to be him trying to make connections, but not really knowing how to do so in a healthy way. This is a really interesting starting point for a superhero who has a good heart, but a lot of growing up to do. We get to watch him grow and learn, hopefully for many years to come, because I have never been more excited to reread an issue of a comic as much as I am excited to reread this one. Five years from now, looking back at the starting point of who Dylan was in Issue #1, will make the hero he will become that much more meaningful.
Rogue Sun #1: 8/10, an amazing start!