REVIEW: Roisin Dubh

Story by: Robert Curley & Maura McHugh
Art by: Stephen Daly
Cover by: Stephen Byrne
Publisher: Atomic Diner
Cover Price: €5.00
Reviewed By: David O’ Leary
 This is the next tantalizing step on the road to an expansive shared universe by Atomic Diner Comics. It all started with League of Volunteers #1 and continues here with Roisin Dudh, the first of a three issue mini series. It continues in quick succession with the second issue of League and also with the first issue of Jennifer Wilde. So to say that Atomic head honcho, Rob Curley has got a grand vision is not wide of the mark. Each issue like this is just another cog in the wheel of getting that vision realized.
 The character of Roisin is one of a rarity in comics. I have commented in various other sites and reports on the lack of a strong consistent female leads in comics so I was tentatively looking forward to this book in the hope that the book produced a female lead that I could get behind. So to see the book be set in a time in recent enough Irish history where women’s rights were only emerging to become a reality set the issue up to be an interesting examination of that aspect more than anything else. Roisin is a woman with dreams of being a stage actress but that career ideal is vehemently opposed by her father. While on the road on the road to Garvagh, they hear the sounds of a hunt but the hunt is not a traditional one as they have traveled into a trap where they are intended as victims for the Neamh-Mharibh, a centuries buried Irish legend. What follows is a brutal introduction to the myths and magic of the land for Roisin and she is chosen by the Gods to be a defender to slay the Neamh-Mharibh.
 The story is utterly enticing. If this is any indication of what is planned in the overall picture, then we are well placed. I love the period that the book is set in. I love the characters traits and how the time influences the thinking of them, particularly Roisin’s father. I love the attention to the little details that McHugh brings forth. This could be the beginning of something special. Keep your eyes peeled.
 The art is also just as noteworthy. The black and white art is exactly what the tone of the story demands of it. There are some cool images in the book, one being the image of the Neamh-Mharibh’s position in the mound after being buried. Something about that panel was visually very catching. The clothes and time specific items must have took a bit of research and the look of the book looks as detailed as the story does. Also, the cover by Stephen Byrne is beautiful in its simplicity.
 No word yet of when the next issue is due out but when it does, I’m there, no doubt about it. Maura McHugh is a hell of a story teller and it shows here. It only exacerbates the excitement of what is to come. Great stuff.