DC Comics’ RWBY Holds True To Source, While Creating Something New

Anyone with any minor interest in Rooster Teeth’s animated series RWBY knows that saying the franchise has grown dramatically since its inception is a terrible understatement. RWBY has evolved beyond just being a web series, there’s a comedy spinoff, a Japanese manga series, games on consoles and smartphones alike, a tabletop board game, a spinoff novel, and now a comic series published by DC Comics.

If you’re a RWBY fan, and you already read comics, this series was made for you. If you don’t already read comics, this is an excellent way to start. The setting brings us back in time to the fourth season of the show where the four main characters, Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long (Ultimately making the initials R W B Y for their team name) are separated as the result of the season 3 finale. This is an interesting part of the storyline, and it appears the comic will shed more light on the characters’ lives during their time apart.

Panel from issue # 1 showing Ruby separated from her teammates (Silhouetted in the back) as she sets of with the remaining members of team JNPR

While the first issue does attempt to catch the reader up on what happened in the first three seasons of the show, it helps more to bring previous viewers back into the setting of the fourth season than it does to bring new readers in for the first time. Thus, making the target audience somewhat exclusive to previous fans of the series. That being said, what writer Marguerite Bennett has given us so far is very worthwhile for the committed fan base.

After first establishing our setting in issue # 1, the following four have been short stories revolving around each of the four leads, showing character histories and tales we have never seen in the show. Additionally, with the narrative focusing entirely on one character per issue, we get a more personal look into his or her perspectives and struggles during this time.

Each issue is well crafted to fit the tones and settings for each character with coloring and minor detailing in the art style that brings it all together. Issue #5, revolving around Weiss, does this immensely well as the story shifts between her locked away in her room to flashing back to her time in school with her friends. The palettes go from a dark and dreary background to a vibrant and lush school grounds with colorful uniforms and faces.

From issue # 5 from left there’s Weiss locked in her room and the right her reminiscing about school

The art style transitions well for the character designs and adds details the 3D character models from the show are lacking. Kudos to Mirka Andolfo on her execution. That, combined with the mentioned coloring by Arif Prianto, which maintains and adds an extra layer to the color theme within the franchise, really brings together a style that is fresh but still respectful to the source material.

Each of these short stories feels quite genuine to the overall series. As if they were ideas planned for the show to begin with, though I can not confirm this theory. Regardless there’s clear communication between the writers at DC and Rooster Teeth.

Without telling too much, Bennett first catches our attention in issue two by giving us some long-awaited info about Ruby’s mother, who is only spoken about in brief instances in the show. We also get to see some history between Blake and Adam following that in issue four, which better explains their relationship by showing it to us directly.

Flashbacks like these are difficult in the show as one can imagine, they would have to make new models dedicated to these specific scenes making additional expenses for short-lived purposes. So it is refreshing to get to see these scenes played out here. The only gripe I have so far is that there is not a lot of notable fight choreography, which is strange since that is something the show is acclaimed for.

That being said, now that we have reached the point where they have covered the four leads introductions, I am excited to see what other tales Bennett will be telling as the issues progress from here. I would prefer if they do not try to tell four different narratives across the span of each issue, maybe tell the perspective of one character for a few, then move on to the next. This would help with pacing.

With the new season RWBY Vol. 7 right around the corner, it would be great to see if any of the stories in the comic tie in to the show. A brief reward to dedicated readers goes a long way. I highly recommend the digital comic experience for anyone looking to pick it up. They’re only $0.99 on Comixology, and you can tell they’re optimized explicitly for the platform.

What other series would you love to see stylized as a comic book? Let us know in the comments!

Samuel Pratt
Samuel Pratt
A more recent interest in comics, Sam really got into the scene by keeping up with Spider-Gwen stories since her inception. Since then Sam has jumped into many different series that he has come to love. Lumberjanes, Giant Days, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Booms! Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Captain Marvel, and other mainline Marvel series.