Also known as Angelina Alcott, Roku was created by Matt Kindt (Unity) and Clay Mann (Batman), debuting in 2015’s Ninjak #1. The immensely deadly assassin became something of a fan-favourite character, and now she’s getting her first solo series from writer Cullen Bunn (Harrow County) and artist Ramón F. Bachs (Detective Comics).
“A big part of the appeal of this series is the idea that Roku has never appeared in her own book before,” Bunn said to CBR.com. “She’s always been a villain or supporting character… Roku is almost a force of nature. She sets her mind on something and she does whatever it takes to accomplish that goal. Morals don’t enter the equation for her. Until they do. And that’s going to be a part of the challenge Roku faces. She’s set on a mission, but the mission changes in a dramatic way. Once that happens, she must make some tough decisions. That kind of character is a lot of fun to write, and that’s even before I send her on a breakneck action adventure that simply does not let up.”
Bunn added that the book would be accessible for those who hadn’t read any stories featuring Roku before and gave some details of the book, saying, “We’ll meet Roku as she is working as a mercenary, performing wetwork for the highest bidders. In this case, she’s employed by a secretive consortium of criminals who want her to retrieve a valuable asset. The problem, of course, is that everyone wants the asset, and they’ve sent some nasty agents of their own to spoil Roku’s payday. I wanted this story to show off a dark underbelly of the Valiant Universe, a corner of the world populated by powerful criminal organizations. My hope is that these criminal outfits start plaguing other Valiant characters.”
Describing some of the characters in the series, Bunn said, “Marybeth is a young woman who, quite literally, knows way too much. Ember-1 is a British agent with enhanced speed, strength, and speed. She can also camouflage herself, which is pretty handy in her line of work—a line of work, by the way, that has caused her to cross paths with Roku before. The Minister of Blades is yet another mercenary, but he has a rare power. He can mentally control any weapon with an edge. This makes him very deadly. All of these characters, like Roku, have been altered in some way by outside forces beyond their control. This will lead Roku to examine who she believes herself to be.”
Bachs said, “Roku seemed like a fantastic opportunity to participate in the vast Valiant Universe. I am very proud and happy to work on this title. Plus, Roku has such a terrific hairstyle I can’t wait to draw! I collaborated with Cullen sometime ago on a few Marvel books, and he’s a great writer and a wonderful person. I am very lucky to work with him again!”
Editor Lysa Hawkins also spoke about the series, saying, “Roku is a woman of mystery. She comes with a tragic backstory, but she’s not letting her past weigh her down. In fact, she never lets ANYTHING bring her down. The ultimate weapon, without compromise, without compassion and without a care. Roku answers to only one higher calling: herself. So what’s there not to love about her? She’s the one thing none of us are, completely unencumbered and so, completely unpredictable.”