THE ROOK DESPERATE TIMES

“Desperate Times”

Writer: Steven Grant

Artist: Paul Gulacy

Restin Dane pursues Cat McCall who stole Adam’s time machine to 1967 San Fransisco. After a brief adventure with some hippies and a man who knows him from his future, he tracks down Cat. Before he can take her back to her time, two giant robots come and take her and the time machine. Restin follows in his castle to a station orbiting the Earth.

This station is in the far future of the 434th century. He finds that this station is refuge from an ice age and he is known to the inhabitants. A Marshal Skarkov has plans to resurrect Joseph Stalin because he was the only one in the past to destroy individuality. Restin rescues Cat and destroys this kooky plan.

Then Restin finds himself back in the age of the dinosaurs. He finds that an alien race has unleashed creatures to destroy all life so they can colonize the planet. With the help of Cat he stops them and Cat ends up in 1868 where she meets his great-great-great grandfather and becomes his great-great-great grandmother.

Finally, Restin comes to his base and meets his android servant Man-Rs. It is located in 2048 after terrorists detonate a nuke in Yellowstone. The subsequent supervolcano destroys most of the continent except the southwest where his base is located. He has to fight his crazy daughter from taking over the base. Restin goes back in time to learn how to build a time machine. He comes back and lures his daughter into a machine to strand her back in the past. He also stops Quarb from detonating the nuke and saves the country.

This was the last of the Rook Dark Horse issues. It was a graphic novel and looks like they tossed four issues into one big book. I loved this take on the Rook. It was very respectful of the original Warren stories but put a new spin on it. The writer used many of the characters from the old series. This was a wild ride with him going back and forth in time. I would love to see more of this character, but I have a feeling that isn’t in the cards for the foreseeable future.

THE ROOK #4

“Untitled”

Writer: Steven Grant

Artist: Paul Gulacy

Restin Dane is still in 1890 London when one night he is confronted by the Morlock that hitched a ride on his great-great-great grandfather’s time machine. He defeats the Morlock with the intervention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and a Great Detective. The Great Detective puts the Morlock in his own private prison. Restin then continues on and runs into a woman fleeing some men. He saves her but she was hired by Quarb to steal the time machine key to Adam’s machine. After the girls steals his key, he finds out that the Great Detective has been kidnapped by Quarb. Taken on his dirigible, The Rook jumps on and climbs aboard. There he witnesses Quarb decapitate the Great Detective. Restin manages to blow up the dirigible and jump off. At the end the mysterious woman takes Adam’s time machine and Restin follows to catch her. Quarb survived and is revealed to be masquerading as both the Great Detective and the Alexander of Crime. He faked both deaths to continue on some other project. Which right now is examining the Morlock.

This was a very fast paced story. In some ways maybe a bit too fast. It was hard to keep up with everything but to the credit of the writer I was able to. Restin now has another goal in catching this woman thief. Quarb is still around and up to something. A good story that stays faithful to the original but yet updates it for more modern times.

THE ROOK #3

“Untitled”

Writer: Steven Grant

Artist: Paul Gulacy

Restin is imprisoned in the Morlock pit with a strange guy. This guy Quarb was apparently responsible for the Morlocks and Eloi. This was some sort of experiment in evolution for him. He also knows the older version of The Rook. He shows Restin a way to get out and they do. They find the time machine of Adam’s at the entrance to the cave and Ouarb tries to take it. Only it rejects him. Then they see some Morlocks taking Adam to a pit where they try to have him mate with some female Eloi. Quarb manages to distract the Morlocks for Restin to grab a pistol and free Adam. He then calls up his castle machine to jump start Adam’s. They both meet back in Victorian times where Adam is very disillusioned with time travel. At the end it is revealed that a Morlock managed to follow them back to the Victoria era.

This was another interesting story. Quarb was an enigmatic guy. Someone that had dealings with the Rook before. A guy not quite human and very long lived. I think from the old Warren series he was an immortal. Had an interesting explanation about the origin of the Morlocks and Eloi. A story that whets my appetite to find out more.

THE ROOK #2

“Untitled”

Writer: Steven Grant

Artist: Paul Gulacy

Adam Dane has built himself a time machine with the help of his mysterious apprentice. This apprentice is his great-great-great grandson Restin Dane. Adam is friends with H.G. Wells, and he discusses his apprehension about his new apprentice. One day he leaves and Restin follows in his own time castle. He tracks Adam to the far future and is attacked by the Eloi. Morlocks come and Adam takes his pistol and saves his grandson. He tells Restin that he taught the Eloi to fight, and they now are attacking the Morlocks. Only the Morlocks are smarter and getting the upper hand. They also are now farming the Eloi. Adam feels that he owns it to save the Eloi. The two are ambushed and Adam falls into a hole that opens up. Restin is captured by the Morlocks and thrown into a hole. He meets a mysterious man in a robe and hood that knows of Restin from his older self.

This was a very interesting story. Restin meets his great-great-great grandfather in the future of Wells. Only there was some stuff that Adam left out in the telling to Wells. Like the Eloi are little more than animals themselves and he fears they could become savage predators. He is also an Englishman with the civilizing mentality of the Victorian era and feels it is his duty to civilize the Eloi. Ends with this mysterious figure that was from Restin’s future. I am looking forward to seeing where this story goes.

THE ROOK #1

“No Future Part 1 of 4: Save Yourself”

Writer: Steven Grant

Artist: Paul Gulacy

1813 Northern Spain. A man in a British officer uniform is confronted by four weird looking characters. They are time travelers like the man and need the man’s time machine. The man is reluctant to kill them for some reason but gets to his machine and escapes to 2015. The characters follow. In 2015 Restin Dane is a grad student obsessed with building a time machine. He has a great-great-great grandfather who wrote a time travel story from the Victorian era so he must have built one. Dane’s girlfriend forces him to take time off and go to a Halloween costume party. He goes as an astronaut.

The man from the beginning arrives in 2015 and looks for Restin Dane. He finds him at the costume party but the four chasing him also arrive. A fight ensues with the man cutting off the hand of the geisha woman and killing the reptilian guy. He takes Dane from the party and flees to save the others at the party from harm. The two alive catch up and the little toad guy kills his companion. Then he rips out the throat of the man. The toad guy hopes to enter the castle machine with the man’s blood. Only the man states his blood is now poison to the toad guy. Restin backs away and the door to the castle opens for him. The computer Man-Rs greets him and teleports him away to the far post apocalypse future.

Later Dane arrives back and finds his girlfriend in a coma. She was traumatized when she found out the geisha was her. Everyone thinks the fight was a prank for no bodies exist. Dane then travels back to Victorian England to meet his relative.

This was an incredible story. Starts with some guy who obviously without stating it was the future version of Restin Dane. He has these weird guys after him. Now the younger version has the time machine. I loved this so far. It keeps the iconic castle yet updates the character to 2015. No more leisure suit. Sets up a very interesting story that you want to continue reading to find out the answers.

THE ROOK #4

“The Spider Obsidian Part 2 The Spider’s Touch”

Writer: Tom Sniegoski

Artists: Kirk Van Wormer, Joe Weems and Marco Galli

The Rook is battling Spider Donovan who has been transformed by the chaos bullet in his chest. Unfortunately, Slough loses his power, and the Rook is captured. Seems that because Hitler is coming to power about now, Chaos can draw power from the air and neutralize Slough. Spider has his goons throw the Rook into the lake.

While this is happening the club owner manages to escape out the back with the Spider Obsidian. He is killed by the showgirl who sees her chance at getting something of value. She later tries to make a deal with Spider. When she arrives at the warehouse he is located at, Spider decides to kill the girl and take the Spider Obsidian. At this time other gang members arrive because they heard that Spider is now a freaky monster, and they decide he is bad for business. The Rook being submerged in the lake has recovered and comes back. He kills Spider and takes the Chaos pieces to somewhere safe. Back in the Rook’s world, the Danse Macabre has resurrected the Rook’s great-great-great grandfather Bishop to help in killing the Rook.

This ends the Harris run for the Rook. It leaves on a bit of a cliffhanger with his great-great-great grandfather Bishop being brought back. It did say that the Rook would return in an issue of Vampirella. Someday I might find that. This was a very interesting and fast paced story. I liked this reboot of the Rook. It had a lot of potential that apparently never found an audience. Now I do admit that I do miss the old seventies version with his leisure suit and MP-5 submachinegun. A guy who was having fun and blasting away people in the past without any concern for the consequences. Still this version had potential and am glad I had these issues to enjoy. Next, we will look at Dark Horse’s take on the character.

THE ROOK #3

“The Spider Obsidian”

Writer: Tom Sniegoski

Artists: Kirk Van Wormer, Joe Weems IV and John Livesay

In present day Boston a gathering of the cities criminal leaders has been called. The Rook has called the meeting to announce he is taking charge. A gangster pulls a gun, and the Rook has to use his suit to kill him. We then switch to a gangster telling how he gained power. That something fell from the sky and burrowed into the Earth long before humans existed. It was dug out and made into a bullet. This bullet hit Spider Donovan in the chest during a shootout and now he is possessed with the Chaos power.

We then cut to a junkyard and The Rook and Slough have arrived. The ship camouflages itself as a pile of junk. Slough turns into a spiffy black suit and fedora. They are in a 1934 Chicago gangster reality. Slough senses a powerful fragment of Chaos. It leads to a nightclub. The Rook makes some inquiries about the owner’s new acquisition. There was a scene earlier of him stealing a box from a Chinese curio shop. The owner shows the Rook the box. It is a large spider figurine and has driven the club owner mad. He tries to kill the Rook but finds out that the Rook is too powerful. Yet the gangster possessed by the other piece arrives. A guy with a giant spider growing out of his chest.

This new story takes us to a gangster reality. It introduces the main villain and gives the reader a good explanation of how he gained the Chaos power. An interesting prologue that seems to have nothing to do with the main story but hopefully will be explained in the next issue. A good start to a new storyline.

THE ROOK #2

“The Good the Bad and the Chaotic”

Writer: Tom Sniegoski

Artists: Kirk Van Wormer & Joe Weems

Restin Dane dreams of the time he bonded with Slough. He wakes and finds himself at the cabin of Caleb Storm. Dane has healed from his last encounter but is soon faced with another. Four horsemen of Chaos have arrived. One is a robot, the other a fancy guy named Boot Hill that can raise the dead. A pale rider and blonde woman round out the lot. They have a fight and the Rook wins, but Caleb is deformed, and his wife dies. Yet some of the Chaos energy leaked from the robot and has make Caleb a kind of zombie.

The two continue on to the citadel of Chaos. They arrive in the Rook’s ship and are attacked by a giant worm. This is Chaos and the Rook gets inside him and tears the Chaos worm apart. Caleb takes care of the preacher that was serving him. With Chaos defeated the Rook moves on to another world and Caleb decides to hunt down evil. An epilogue has the Pale Rider the last surviving servant eat the body of Chaos.

This was an interesting story. We get a look at the scene where Restin bonded with Slough. The story moved quick which kind of did limit character development. Which is a shame since the characters were interesting and I would have liked to explore them some more. In fact, it seemed that Caleb was being set up for his own series. In interesting issue but just moved way too fast.

THE ROOK #1

Fist Full of Chaos”

Writer: Tom Sniegoski

Artists: Kirk Van Wormer and Joe Weems V

Restin Dane and his suit Slough are going to another reality. This one is 1845 Texas where a mysterious alien fell from the sky. The locals are under its control and led by a creepy preacher. This is part of the Chaos being and it has established itself. Meanwhile a former bounty hunter named Caleb Storm works a ranch with his wife and son. Four riders come and turn out to be men that Caleb killed. They have been brought back and seek vengeance. They kill his son with bullets that have an alien organism inside it.

Dane comes on this scene and starts to shoot the zombies. One zombie manages to pierce his armor with a chaos blade. Dane kills the zombies but is in danger of dying himself. At the temple that was built for Chaos he has his preacher servant send four of his minions to finish off Dane.

This was an enjoyable first issue in the new Rook series. We find out that this is the classic Warren character but his old time machine opened up tears in the fabric of space and let in Chaos. Now he has to hunt down the fragments of Chaos that is entering the various realities. The story starts in the old west which was a favorite of the classic character. Introduces interesting supporting characters and villains. The series is off to a good start.

THE ROOK #0

“Shiny Baubles”

Writer: Tom Sniegoski

Artists: Version I Caesar Version II John Stinsman & Joe Weems Version III Kirk Van Wormer & Joe Weems

It is September in Boston and the Rook, with his suit Slough are looking for a skull in the sewers. When they find it, they are attacked by a rat-man and other armed humans. They are agents of the Danse Macabre and also after the skull. In the conversation we find out that Rook and the Danse Macabre are enemies with the Rook once working for them. They tried to kill him, and this is how he bonded with the Chaos skin Slough. Rook’s suit destroys the men, and he uses a time jump to beat the rat-man to the skull. Gets in an argument with Slough as one of the men thought dead is still alive and creeping up on the Rook. Never fear for the Rook also has a crow with metal claws that helps him out. Ends with Rook telling the rat-man if he survives to tell the Danse Macabre that he’s coming for them.

“The Evolution of the Rook”

Writer: Tom Sniegoski

Artists: Karl Altstaetter, John Stinsman, John Estes.

A collection of illustrations on how the creative team came up with the new Rook’s look. Also has some cover art from Chains of Chaos.

This introduction issue gives us the same story three different times. Only each is done by a different art team. Was used to determine who the art team would be. The winners are the third of Van Wormer and Weems. Personally, I would have chosen the Stinsman/Weems team but all three were good. A good story that gives us some idea of the Rook and the enemy he fights. Looking forward to seeing this reimaged version of my favorite seventies’ comic time traveler.