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A Writer’s Commentary: RIK HOSKIN on RED RISING: SONS OF ARES #4, on sale TODAY!

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  • A Writer’s Commentary: RIK HOSKIN on RED RISING: SONS OF ARES #4, on sale TODAY!

    A Writer’s Commentary: RIK HOSKIN on RED RISING: SONS OF ARES #4, on sale TODAY from Dynamite!

    The “Red Rising universe” is concerned with hierarchies and social structures. With this issue I wanted to subliminally create a visual sense of that, segregating characters by panel placements and use of borders. Our wonderful artist Eli Powell did a terrific job with some especially taxing requests on my part, and I cannot praise him enough. We start, however, at ...

    Page 1.
    As with the previous issues, our story is divided into two parts--present and past. We begin in the present with the still-unnamed rebel group running into problems as they endeavor to infiltrate the Board of Quality Control. This cuts into ...

    Page 2.
    An extended flashback which begins with a sequence where Fitchner--a prestigious Gold--and his wife Bryn--a lowly Red--are seen in a sequence of split panels, which show how differently they are treated by the people around them. Fitchner is adored by all, while Reds Bryn and her sister Ryanna are upon with disgust and barely tolerated.
    With the final panels I wanted to keep that division in the panel structure, even though the characters were now together (albeit in secret). It’s a subliminal indicator about how they view their world.

    Pages 3-5.
    We follow Fitchner as he meets his employer, Quicksilver, a character known to readers of the Red Rising books. Here Quicksilver has a Pink male assistant who’s very much eye candy.
    The commodities trader whom Quicksilver wants assassinated is called Theron Au Aktler, which is a play on the pen-name (James) Axler as whom I’ve written books for the Outlanders and Deathlands series for many years.

    Page 6.
    This page sets up the Red’s environment as one of workplace suspicion where everyone is scanned before they leave the site, in marked contrast to Fitchner’s Gold world of luxury, decadence and manners.

    Page 7-9.
    Again the pages are split, this time along the horizontal, to contrast the different worlds our newly married couple inhabit.

    Page 10-11.
    Fitchner is playing drunk here to create a situation. Fitchner’s old friend, Arturius, is not expected or wanted by Fitchner, who we see almost lets his drunk act drop as he talks to the friend he feels discarded him.

    Page 12.
    The visual divisions of the panel borders between Fitchner and Bryn are gone, but now that only emphasizes how separate their lives are becoming, with Fitchner lying about his work and Bryn weeping while facing away from him. Artist Eli Powell does some particularly subtle work with this sequence, Bryn’s sadness is beautifully conveyed.

    Pages 13-16.
    The fight between Fitchner and Aktler is very Manga-inspired, it’s paced in that style. In the double page spread you’ll see how much smaller Fitchner is than a regular Gold like Aktler, he’s something of a runt.

    Page 17.
    The first three panels are a fixed shot over time, because I wanted to show Fitchner washing away the blood from his duel in the same home he shared with Bryn, to emphasize how compartmentalized his world was becoming. The cross-section view of the apartment was another way to divide how the characters’ lives are playing out, and how they come together illicitly.

    Page 18.
    I employed a montage to cover the whole insemination process. Book readers will spot that the baby--Sevro--is being teased with his lucky wolf’s foot, something which becomes associated with the character in later life.
    Our incoming colorist Dee Cunniffe did a simply exquisite job with this page, it glows with life and momentary, fleeting joy.

    Pages 19-21.
    We return to the present for a grisly confrontation which illustrates how ruthless Fitchner is. He’s a killing machine without mercy, the product of his Gold education where he’s been taught to believe he’s top of society’s food chain.

    Page 22.
    Finally we cut to see what Fitchner and his team have been fighting for. But I won’t spoil that here!

    Thanks for your interest in the comic, hope you’re enjoying it.