Tales of Rogues (#1 – 6) – Various

1 out of 5

Amigo’s been putting out quite a bit of this non-El Torres stuff lately!  …It’s too bad a lot of it isn’t very good at all.

Rogues, being a set of mini-series (and sometimes mini-series within mini-series) that highlight generally standalone adventures, seems a good setting for something like Tales of Rogues: an anthology series that proposes one-shot tales featuring our favorite thieves, Bram and Weasel, as drawn and scripted by a rotating cast.  But then again, if the only thing that’s different is the writer and artist, what are we really gaining beyond the other issues?  …The series thus tries to further stake its claim by going Elseworlds at points, but rather atrocious English editing (one of Amigo’s big downfalls – lack of a consistent, quality English editor) and tales that rather feel properly Rogues-ish hardly make the plotty / setting deviations worthwhile.

So: most of these are not good.  One is quality; the rest are average.  But apparently the majority was far enough below a certain standard so as to merit that there one star.  Caveat: the art is pretty great throughout.

Issue #1 at least brings us the joys of Street Tiger‘s Ertito Montana on art, although he’s not a cure-all: Roberto Corroto’s story has Bram and Weasel going on something akin to a typical, if compressed, Rogues adventure, but it’s lacking in the kind of extremes that Montana used on his own book.  This is one of the ‘average’ issues: it’s enjoyable, but very middle-of-the-road.

Having also scripted an interesting Suicide Forest mini, I was interested to see Desiree Bressend’s work elsewhere.  Based on this entry – this be one of the not good ones – comedy is not her forte.  There’s an attempt at doing something meta by having a modern day dude play a Rogues video game (which only stars Weasel, mind you), and I appreciate the nods at different genres and whatnot, but the timing of the nods is atrocious, the story isn’t very followable, and the editing may or may not contribute to both of those things.  Jose Antonio Sollero’s art does the job, looking like something out of the current Marvel stable, though whether its an art or script fail at making the tale comprehensible is a tossup.

Hey, the good one!  Issue #3, by Jos, and slightly Archie-tinged art (if Archie characters wore thongs and loincloths) from Manuel Díaz.  This is an American Idol riff – with the Sirens as the hosts, and Weasel and troupe having to perform to stave off being devoured – and the satire should grow old, but Jos actual strings it along into a fun little tale.  This felt truest to the El Torres standards of Rogues hijinks.

Irene Roga takes over art and story on #4, and this is where we’re going full Elseworlds, as Roga tries to tell a serious alternate take on Weasel and Bram as something akin to Spartans.  Roga has an open storytelling style that’s good, but struggles with pacing the action correctly, and I kept getting stuck on details like how armor was supposed to stay on.  Expanded into something full length – and something that wasn’t Rogues – I can see how this little sword and sorcery epic might gain traction, but it banks on using characters we know, and then completely recasts them as essentially different personality types.  Had each issue in this series gone in drastically different directions, Roga’s entry wouldn’t have stuck out as a sore thumb, but they didn’t, and so it does.

Montana is invited back for issue #5, and he gets to commit some good violence, but David Abadia and Pablo Durá’s tale of intersecting storylines – which try to use repetition as a source of humor – isn’t up to the genre parody (of something something Marvel Tales of Suspense, or along those lines) they went for, nor does it really do enough with its structure to feel clever.  Translation woes again strike, but at least this tale about evenly features both Bram and Weasel.

Issue #6: Bram and Weasel take on a dungeon that requires their silence.  No stakes are properly established by Jose Luis Vidal, despite a good setup, and his humor is also (an apparently common problem) off-timed.  Artist El Flores does a good stylized cartoon look, but man is it not a good match for such a busy story.

…I hear there’s an El Torres Rogues right around the corner.  Which, look, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t encourage more of this kinda stuff, we just need some editorial oversight to align the concept and get some consistent English transliterations going on.