Casual Comics Review – Rover Red Charlie

A wise man once said, “Sometimes you kick. Sometimes you get kicked. Yesterday was that kind of day.

I stopped in at Legend Comics over my lunch break. Joe Patrick – one half of the Two Headed Nerd – finally caught me in the store, so my cover was blown. On the positive side, I stumbled onto Rover Red Charlie while browsing the shelves. The series is up to issue #3, but I only picked up the first two.

Rover Red Charlie #1 by Garth Ennis and Michael Dipascale Avatar Press

It’s a “high concept” book, and it’s written by Garth Ennis, which was enough to convince me to give Rover Red Charlie a try.

Ennis is not known for being a subtle. He often piles shocking material on top of offensive material in a short stack of mayhem that dares you to stop reading. I’m am 100% positive that, at some point in this series, I will have to stop reading when Ennis goes completely off the rails. Until then, though, Rover Red Charlie is simply, delightfully crazy.

Rover, Red, and Charlie are three dogs just trying to survive the apocalypse. Charlie is a former guide dog for the blind. “Former” because his master doused himself with gasoline and incinerated himself. And from there, the horror just keeps coming. Why is almost all the human population (“Feeders” to the dogs) killing themselves? Well, we’re seeing this all unfold through the dogs’ points of view, and they have very little faculty to solve the puzzle.

A moment on the art. I’d never heard of Michael Dipascale (or if I have, I’ve forgotten), but this book is a visual feast. The good is terrific and the gruesome is really horrifying.

I can imagine this being a divisive title. Some might find the conceit and the dogs’ peculiar language to be a bit too cute. I love it, though. The inability for the animals to fathom humanity’s regular quirks reminds me of the excellent series We3. Once things go to heck in a handbasket, though, the dogs (and cats) have to quickly figure out how to make their way in a world without people.

That’s what I’m most looking forward to. The horror of what is happening to the human race pales in comparison to the dread of what’s coming for the dogs. Without the “civilizing” influence and easy access to food from their “feeders”, it’s only a matter of time before the truly horrible starts happening.

Rover Red Charlie #2 by Garth Ennis and Michael Dipascale; Avatar Press

This book shares some DNA with The Walking Dead. The plague that’s wiping out the population is not the real source of fear, it’s the mad scramble for resources in a world with no rules. But, at this point, it’s infinitely easier to root for Rover, Red, and Charlie than for Rick and company over at The Walking Dead.

For now, I’m loving Rover Red Charlie. I promise I’ll check back in when Ennis does something stomach-churning that makes me want to quit the title and burn my back issues, though.


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