When I first caught wind of Rough Riders from Aftershock, I was a mix of skepticism and curiosity. This seems to be borrowing on the idea of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, where a group of historically important characters are gathered to overcome an obstacle threatening the free world.
However, it's a common trope, the assembling of a team to do something (you can literally see this idea in everything from the gathering of the Twelve Apostles to the team assembly in Mass Effect 2), so brush the skepticism aside and get ready for a team you never knew you desperately wanted.
In this tale we see one of the most charismatic Presidents in the history of the US before he ascended to office, when he was a young patriot interested in the well-being of his fellow Americans: Teddy Roosevelt. Adam Glass portrays the future POTUS as a political do-gooder by day, and fearless vigilante by night, and it's fucking great: Roosevelt is introduced to the reader by trying to save a warehouse full of sweat-shop working women from a quickly-spreading fire, and even though he saves most of them he lets his one failure gnaw away at him.
The subsequent scene of Roosevelt dealing with the tragedy is especially poignant, because it mixes his well-known obsession with pleasing his father with scenes from Daredevil and Batman - he's showering off the blood and soot from his work, and we see a back ravaged by scars, and the weight of the world on his shoulders. Patrick Olliffe does a tremendous job conveying the pressure Roosevelt lives with, the burdens of his choices, and the simplicity of his decisions.
Teddy is confronted by a cabal of famously wealthy American architects, like JP Morgan and John D Rockefeller, who explain that they need his night-operating persona to go down South to dispatch of a threat to American life. The appeal to his deeply held patriotism works, despite the best efforts of the group to rouse a fury in the young Roosevelt.
And the journey begins.
Adam Glass's (writer on CoN man-candy show 'Supernatural') premise of taking historical AMERICAN figures, and putting them together in a fun, intriguing, and just plan cool situation is more accessible to the average reader than Moore's League - the figures he uses were all prominent in the pop culture history of Amercian, like Annie Oakley, Harry Houdini, and the first black US heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who has amazing chemistry in this issue with Roosevelt.
The art is crisp and clean (kudos to not just Olliffe, but also colorist Gabe Eltaeb who takes Olliffe's cleanly finished artwork and brings it to life in a dynamic sense), the dialogue is inspirational and engaging while still feeling proper in the time it's presented, and the story has such potential that it's nearly impossible not to want to acquire the second issue.
LOWDOWN: I'm giving this issue a solid 8 out of 10 pelvic thrusts; I'm satisfied and hooked, and can't wait for the next book. Easily worth picking up.