Rough Riders Ride or Die #2 Review: Historical Fiction with Actual H. P. Lovecraft

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The Rough Riders are confronted with a series of bizarre and dangerous events. Oakley and Edison are attacked by reanimated cadavers. Eastman is attacked by an unusually spry maid with a knife, and it's up to Johnson to save him. Meanwhile, Roosevelt and Houdini become more acquainted with H. P. Lovecraft.

Rough Riders: Ride or Die #2 cover by Patrick Olliffe and Gabe Eltaeb
Rough Riders: Ride or Die #2 cover by Patrick Olliffe and Gabe Eltaeb

Rough Riders: Ride or Die #2 contrasts the previous issue's pensive mystery with a more action-intensive issue. The action, despite its supernatural flavor, is more grounded than what one might expect from comics. That is apart from Oakley's impossibly aiming and the one cadaver on the ceiling.

Given the presence of H. P. Lovecraft, this mystery is going exactly in the direction you'd expect, but the previous issue didn't exactly try to hide it either. There's a godlike creature knocking on this dimension's door, and it's up to the Rough Riders to stop it from ending the world.

So, with a mystery that's intentionally not a mystery, that leaves it to the comic's charm and entertaining qualities to save it. It mostly accomplishes that. There is something wacky and enjoyable about this crew, especially given how straight the story plays everything. It's still almost too reminiscent of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but it still arguably squeaks by on its own merits.

Rough Riders: Ride or Die #2 art by Patrick Olliffe and Gabe Eltaeb
Rough Riders: Ride or Die #2 art by Patrick Olliffe and Gabe Eltaeb

Patrick Olliffe's artwork balances its stoic depiction of its characters with kinetic action beats this time around. Where last issue felt oddly stiff, we do get to see our characters in action poses and fighting off the possessed undead. The undead themselves don't have anything unique in their design, but I wasn't really expecting that either. Hopefully the dread gods in waiting will have a compelling visual identity.

Gabe Eltaeb's color work is somewhat muted here once again. It mostly focuses on primary colors and muted browns and grays. The green blood of the undead adds something to their scenes, but the color work here could use a little livening.

Rough Riders: Ride or Die #2 introduces a little action into this story, and it injects a little life into the story. This is far from the most compelling or interesting comic to have come out this past week, but it does have its charms. It's not required reading, but I can recommend it. Feel free to check it out.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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