Lovecraft’s ability to commune with the dead appears to be a truth, and the Rough Riders follow his lead. Perplexingly, this crisis also seems to involve Roosevelt’s ancestry. They need to traverse to the realm of the dead; thankfully, this can be accomplished with someone who is on the brink of death. Houdini takes up that burden and connects with his father in the realm of the dead while Roosevelt and Oakley chase up leads from Rutgers University.
The third issue of Rough Riders: Ride or Die has begun to throw up some roadblocks in terms of the quality of the series. The already-vague plot has only become more convoluted with the addition of ancestry links and possible connections to the concept of the Rough Riders.
Worse yet, it gives into the temptation of melodrama to raise tension and a sizable helping of well-worn tropes to fill out the plot. Among such moments is a protracted shouting-match between Teddy Roosevelt and Annie Oakley wherein Teddy pulls the, “It’s too dangerous to follow me,” line.
Frankly, the problems in this comic aren’t too damaging, but this comic didn’t have much going for it in the first place. It’s a fun historical fiction twist on the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen structure with far less depth and general quality. If you start loading up something like that simple idea with unneeded complexity and contrivance, it’s going to show all the more.
Patrick Olliffe’s artwork holds together well in this issue, with clever use of shadowing to give texture and a generally appealing style that conveys a sense of age. Gabe Eltaeb’s color palette is conventional, but it works well for the tone for which the comic aims. The art remains good, even if the written narrative falters.
Rough Riders: Ride or Die #3 is an underwhelming installment in the series, even if it isn’t outright awful. If you’ve enjoyed the series thus far, you’ll likely enjoy this installment. I can tentatively recommend it, even if it’s far from a must-read.
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