Rogues!: Volume 3 – The Burning Heart (#1 -2) – El Torres

4 out of 5

Amigo Comics were already moderately spotty with their printing schedule in 2014, and then after a small barrage of books, it seemed like they hit a wall where printing stopped, and I feared the publisher had folded.

Rogues! The Burning Heart – an apparent reprint / re-presentation of the Rogues first adventure – was halted at issue 2, and even though Amigo has picked back up since (with, as ever, a strong selection of titles), its remained at issue 2, and Torres went on to other Rogues series.  Although it seems like there might be more available digitally, and possibly a trade collection I missed, this looks like its it for the print issues, so it’s time for a review.

The gist of Rogues! has forever been pretty basic: A sexy-ass barbarian named Bram and a scantily clad thief so-called The Weasel form our eponymous duo, with each series involving them in some hijinks after a fill-in-the-blank gone bad.  This time out, its a robbery of ‘The Burning Heart’ a huge jewel that can fetch a mighty price – if’n our Rogues can manage to sell it safely.  After opening on the thieving, the two initial issues put Bram and Weasel through the wringer of various pursuants: The man from whom they stole it; a wizard; a cult; and continually drop the pair into ridiculous death traps that require all their bravado to escape.  It’s a fun book, blending campy nudity with a surprisingly sharp sense of humor (which somehow survives Torres’ occasionally stilted English), gregarious violence, and deft little plot tweaks that prevent it from feeling like pure exploitation.  That this is the Rogues’ actual first escapade is of little matter; the chemistry and tone of the book has apparently been their since the start.

One of the biggest losses to not seeing the rest of this series printed is that it’s one less book over which to salivate regarding Juan Jose Ryp’s madly detailed art.  Ryp has found his place elsewhere, of course, but Rogues’ openness to comedic embellishment and a setting stuffed with colorful characters really let him jampack the pages with goodness, even if the tightly packed narration (a simple story, but a lot happens) ends up with some confusing layouts.

The mini would have been five issues, with The Burning Heart wrapping up in book 3 and another tale in issues 4 and 5.  Now to see about that trade…