For nearly 40 years The Rook has remained a favourite amongst comic book fans. A time-travelling adventure hero, the character was created in 1977 by William B. DuBay and became a mainstay of the now defunct Warren Publishing. Initially more popular, yet now less well-known, than stable mate Vampirella, The Rook has undergone various incarnations over time, but at last several of the best and most popular stories are being released together as The Rook Archives Volume 1.
Compiled with the assistance of DuBay’s nephew Ben DuBay, this collection provides a new reader with everything they need to understand the character, whilst giving existing fans exactly what they would have wished for. A foreword by DuBay gives an insight into the author behind the character, and offers a personal understanding rarely seen. Coupled with stunning, never-before-seen cover art, there is a real sense of history and respect to The Rook Archives Volume 1, and you feel the weight of expectant anticipation as you scan the highly-detailed panels.
A wealthy scientist, The Rook, or Restin Dane to give him his true name, travels through time in his Time Castle. With a fascination for the Wild West, this collection sees him journey back to points of historical importance with the sole intention of locating his own relatives. Always careful not to upset the time continuum, events begin to go wrong due to a chance encounter.
As beautiful as the artwork from Luis Bermejo is, it is the intrigue in a story so well written by DuBay and Budd Lewis that holds your attention to a greater degree. Taking strong influence from H. G Wells’ The Time Machine, and yet remaining cryptically original, the central theme is one of discovery and exploration, with a generous dose of risk-laden adventuring thrown in for good measure. As is the way with driven central characters, Dane is both relatable and frustratingly distant, as his obsessive nature clashes with inherent morality, rendering narrative outcomes rarely predictable.
It is to be hoped that there will soon be a Volume 2, but whether that comes to pass or not The Rook Archives Volume 1 would make a beautiful addition to any collection.