Monday, December 29, 2014

Book-A-Day 2014 #363: Ricky Rouse Has a Gun by Tittel and Aggs

Stop me if you've heard this one before: a man, a tough man, runs away from his responsibilities after a bad breakup. He runs to a foreign country, drinks too much, sleepwalks through bad jobs, hits bottom. And then his ex, and their child, come to visit him in a colorful, distinctive location on a major holiday, at the same time as a major attack by terroristic forces. The ex and the child are taken hostage, with many others, by the nasty masked terrorists. But the man is an expert in violence, and he will save everyone and defeat the terrorists to show his manly superiority.

Yes, Ricky Rouse Has a Gun reads a lot like a treatment for a Die Hard knockoff, though the offhanded apoliticism of the terrorists reads a bit anachronistically in the post-9/11 world. This book could make a very popular, exciting movie, and maybe it will someday.

For now, though, it's a book: written by British writer/producer/director (for film, games, and mostly stage) Jorg Tittel and drawn by London artist/illustrator John Aggs in a neo-'80s style full of flat colors and angular faces. (I do wonder about the gestation period for this book, or if it was conceived in a throwback style: there's something inherently late-'80s or early-'90s about it, in its macho posturing and moral story beats, for all of the specific details that place it in the present day.)

Richard Rouse is that tough man: he walked away from his unit in Afghanistan after getting a "Dear John" letter from his wife/girlfriend and into dead-end jobs in China. But the failure of one of those jobs sends him to a new one at the Fengxian Amusement Park, made up entirely of rip-offs of popular western characters and rides. The proprietor of the park has made a weird Mickey Mouse parody suit, and the American -- Ricky Rouse, yes?, say it in a Charlie Chan accent -- gets a new job in the suit.

And then those terrorists attack on Christmas Day, when the ex and the daughter (and the ex's new rich boyfriend, because there always must be a rich and attractive and powerful new boyfriend) and trapped with the hostages. But Ricky is on the outside. And Ricky, as the title suggests, has a gun of his own.

You know what happens from there. Tittel has some mildly satiric points to make, but this is mostly an action movie on paper: a masked villain will always be someone surprising, and the ethnic sidekick will be injured but make it through, and the ex will discover the hero's true abilities and power. It may not be quite as highbrow as it wants you to believe, but Ricky Rouse Has a Gun is a lot of bloody fun.

Book-A-Day 2014 Introduction and Index

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