In this review of Impact Winter: Rook #1, we see a world, hundreds of years into the past to tell the origin love story of a lost Roman centurion who saves a woman with an affliction to light from her druid captors. After swearing her safe return home, he learns she may be the most dangerous being they cross.
Impact Winter: Rook
Written by: Travis Beacham
Art and Cover by: Andrea Milana
Colors: Valentina Taddeo
Page Count: 42 Pages
Release Date: July 19, 2023
Before I get into the story, I just want to give a little insight into what this actually is for those who don’t know but are interested. This is a one-shot comic that is a part of an Audible series. There are currently 2 seasons out on Audible, with another one-shot comic between seasons 1-2. I have NOT listened to the audio book or read the other comic. This is my first experience with Impact Winter, I don’t think you need to have listened to or read anything else to get what’s going on. If you’re deciding if you want to go in on the wildly expensive Audible, this is a much cheaper way to get an idea if you’re going to like it or not.
This is first and foremost a Vampire origin love story. What I thought worked very well in the story was how it took from vampire tropes, but gave us outcomes and situations that I didn’t always see coming. The story takes place in Britannia AD 410, a time long before vampires were known to everyday people. Our protagonist, Rook, at the end of the day is just a stupid human trying to do his best to impress a pretty lady. He is a Roman centurion, with no real home and no real family. He feels purposeless. When he first encounters Fiornnor, she is tied to a tree by a group of druids. He murders the first two, and before he gets to the third, he warns Rook that she is evil. Rook kills the druid anyway.
Fionnuir doesn’t hide a lot about herself from Rook. On their journey he looks past her telling him she can only travel at night because she has an “affliction to sunlight.” The same excuse for the reason the Druids had her tied up. He then also overlooks the disappearance of a nice old lady who takes them in for the day. I do like that at this point in the story they have Rook question his own sanity as if he may be entranced. It has a smart payoff later in the story.
Character development through the story could have been deeper. Despite them becoming romantically involved, all of their decisions to stay together were always out of necessity or selfishness. I feel it missed with the actual connection or love it tried to portray. As it does near the end, we stop being surprised as the reader as well. Those fun vampire tropes the author played with at the beginning became very predictable and boring at the end. The ultimate reveal of what the journey is truly about is a major letdown.
I would say the art was below average. There was nothing that ever wowed me. There were no big mistakes or panels that didn’t make sense, just very little detail for a story that didn’t have much action. When the few action panels did show up, they were very entertaining to look at. The panels where Finnuir speed through murdering a large group are phenomenal. It’s easy to read, you can see exactly where she is speeding off to, and when she rips someone’s throat out, it’s awesome. IT ONLY HAPPENS ONCE, that is what Andrea Milana should be non-stop drawing. I don’t believe she was correct for this book.
I really like the idea behind Impact Winter: Rook #1. Unfortunately for Travis Beacham and Audible, it just didn’t hit enough comic book sweet spots for me to run and see what Impact Winter is really all about. It honestly had me fully captured in the first ten pages but just could not hold that momentum. The art also did not complement the story at all and the big reveals were rather boring.