Roku is the Valiant Universe’s deadliest woman. She might even be its deadliest assassin. But like any assassin, the jobs she takes come at a cost. Roku #1 introduces mysterious clients who have hired her to do a job, paying three times her usual rate to keep her from looking into their identities. The job? Acquire a weapon. Only she’s not the only one trying to get it, and the weapon isn’t what it seems.
Cullen Bunn does a great job of introducing Roku to new readers. The first thing he does is display Roku’s abilities as she kills a gang known as the Jade Union. Think Medusa of Marvel’s Inhumans, but her hair is razor-sharp; she has psychic abilities; and is a skilled fighter. Bunn also teases her past with a rival recognizing her even though Roku didn’t recognize them. Who are they, and what is this weapon exactly? I’m particularly interested in how Roku will develop in throughout this series.
Ramon F. Bachs’s art is violent and bloody. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a comic about one of the world’s deadliest assassins. Hair is everywhere, but not like it is with your furry pets. I particularly love Stephanie Paitreau’s colours in the first scene. Full of reds and purples, this scene really feels like its Roku’s ideal atmosphere. When she uses her psychic powers, Paitreau uses green. It really pops out against the background and draws the readers’ eyes.
Roku #1 is a mystery about Roku’s past as much as it is about her present. Who are her employers, and what is this weapon they want? This is a great jumping-on point for new readers, especially for those new to the Valiant Universe. It doesn’t fully address her whole story, particularly her past and origin story which was somewhat explored in Ninjak, but it doesn’t really matter either. It just fills in a few gaps in her story, which apparently there are plenty of.