There’s a hero way down in New Orleans they call the Rogue Sun. And he’s been the ruin of many a poor villain. But now his time is done.

This doesn’t matter much to thug-in-training Dylan Siegel, whose biggest concerns are why his girlfriend is now telling people she’s his ex-girlfriend and which of his high school’s nerds are going to “help” him with his homework this week in exchange for protection from the other bullies. No, the death of his city’s superhero doesn’t mean much to Dylan. Not until he learns that Rogue Sun was the father who abandoned him and his mother 15 years earlier and that he’s inherited the magic Sunstone that granted his father his powers.

Unfortunately, Dylan has also inherited his father’s enemies along with his responsibilities. To make matters worse, in addition to being magically compelled to spend his nights dealing with all manner of magical menace that is threatening New Orleans, Dylan’s also being haunted by the ghost of his father. And he’s rather insistent that Dylan track down the new villain who killed him and avenge his death.

On paper, there’s little to separate Rogue Sun from every other superhero comic about a teenage boy who develops great power and must learn great responsibility, save for one fact—Dylan Seigel is a jerk. Most superhero comics center around loveable losers like Miles Morales or Jamie Reyes who inspire sympathy in the reader because they face the same problems as the average teenager (i.e. balancing classes, romance, their family, and maybe a job) when they aren’t punching supervillains. Dylan does not inspire that same sense of pathos. In fact, the only thing that makes Dylan into a marginally acceptable protagonist is that most of the supporting cast of Rogue Sun are more annoyingly amoral than he is.

This makes Rogue Sun an interesting read in the early chapters, as Ryan Parrott plays against the genre clichés by making Dylan and his ghost dad as unlikeable as possible. There’s also some interesting villains for Rogue Sun to face, such as the gentleman thief Suave and a family of vampire-werewolf hybrids who have been menacing New Orleans for generations. Unfortunately, the shine quickly comes off the original concepts and Dylan’s combativeness grows tiresome. The fact that Dylan’s father is slowly exposed as being little better than the villains he condemns to eternal imprisonment in magical crystals doesn’t help matters and a series of twists regarding Dylan’s half-siblings lead to diminishing returns long before the revelation of who is responsible for the death of Rogue Sun.

The artwork is similarly capable, but not outstanding. The artist called Abel presents a dark, gritty view of New Orleans that suits the story, but the colors are frequently dull and muted, making it hard to tell the backgrounds from the characters. There’s also a distinct lack of expressions on the faces of most of the characters. One face which stood out to me was the muted look of Dylan’s mother, as a lawyer announced her son was being given the same magic artifact that destroyed her marriage.

The book is rated for Teen audiences 13 and up. I consider that a fair rating, as there’s little in this book most parents would find objectionable for a teen audience. Unfortunately, there’s not much to make them want to read Rogue Sun either, given how unlikeable the characters are and how trite the story is once you get past the core concept of a jerk being given magical powers instead of a good-hearted chosen one.

Rogue Sun, Vol. 1: Cataclysm 
By Ryan Parrott
Art by Abel , Chris O’Halloran
Image, 2022
ISBN: 9781534322370

Publisher Age Rating: 13+

NFNT Age Recommendation: Teen (13-16)

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

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