September 24, 2014 by Heidi
Today I’m happy to be the first stop on The Rise of Aurora West blog tour, hosting artist Paul Rubín with exclusive art that’s just for us! But first, I’ll be sharing my own thoughts on this badasssery laden graphic novel.
Title: The Rise of Aurora West [Goodreads]
Author: Paul Pope [Website], JT Perry [Twitter]
Art: David Rubín [Twitter]
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Speculative Fiction
Published: September 30th, 2014 by First Second
Format: Graphic Novel; 150 pages.
Source: Review copy from publisher.
The extraordinary world introduced in Paul Pope’s Battling Boy is rife with monsters and short on heroes… but in this action-driven extension of the Battling Boy universe, we see it through a new pair of eyes: Aurora West, daughter of Arcopolis’s last great hero, Haggard West. A prequel toBattling Boy, The Rise of Aurora West follows the young hero as she seeks to uncover the mystery of her mother’s death, and to find her place in a world overrun with supernatural monsters and all-too-human corruption. With a taut, fast-paced script from Paul Pope and JT Petty and gorgeous, kinetic art from David Rubin, The Rise of Aurora West(the first of two volumes) is a tour de force in comics storytelling.
Recipe for one kick-ass teenage supergirl:
1 part Hit Girl and Big Daddy
1 part mysterious seven fingered villain
1 part archaeology: Indiana Jones style
1 part Veronica Mars
Best shaken, not stirred.
I don’t mean to imply that The Rise of Auroroa West is derivative–I don’t feel it is–but it had notes of so many other things I love that it made diving in quite enjoyable. Aurora West has a curiosity that just won’t quit when it comes to piecing together the story of her mother’s murder. A symbol and an imaginary friend pick at the back of her brain, slowly opening memories and driving her to a confused but determined vendetta.
The daughter of Acropolis’ wiliest detective, the indomitable Haggard West, Aurora spends her days in training and study and nights patrolling the city protecting innocents from the monsters would would steal them away. She’s got gadgets, she’s got a grudge, and she’s got backup. The one thing she lacks is a rocket pack.
I did suffer a bit from lack of understanding the world of Acropolis that Aurora West lives in and how it came about. I have a feeling this was better covered in Pope’s previous forays into this world, Battling Boy and The Death of Haggard West, which I have not yet read. I didn’t feel so completely lost, however, that I wasn’t able to follow the heart of the story and in the end that’s really what counts. Indeed, I like the accessibility to the story that Aurora gives as a teenage girl struggling with both normal and not-so-normal teenage issues. Aurora is given the monumental task of living up to her father’s heroics while the parent she truly wants to live up to–her mother–is no longer present. Folks, it is hard as a teenage girl to go through the world without your mother, regardless of the positive roll models you have around. I’m just betting doing so in a world where getting a child from birth to adulthood without losing them to the monsters is even more tricky. Her mother’s absence fuels Aurora’s anger in a way that she determines to put to good use.
“Do you want to be that angry?”
“I don’t think so. I mean, could I be a hero otherwise?”
“I think most of the time you’re angry, it just means you’re hurt. Anybody who lives is going to hurt, is going to suffer loss. How you deal with that loss is what makes you a hero.”
I’m not sure that Aurora West has quite reached hero status by the end of The Rise of Aurora West, but she’s well on her way. It’s definitely an opening piece to a greater story–one that’s sure to be filled with intrigue, fight scenes, sleuthing, and of course, monsters.
Without further ado, David Rubín’s monster, “Catfish”:
He might just look cuddly if there weren’t a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Note: DON’T HUG THESE MONSTERS.
Thanks for stopping by for the kick-off of The Rise of Aurora West blog tour! You can visit the other tour stops, and see more of David Rubín’s unique creations over the next 10 days:
Thursday, September 25th – Green Bean Teen Queen
Friday, September 26th – The Book Rat
Saturday, September 27th – The Book Wars
Sunday, September 28th – Fly to Fiction
Monday, September 29th – Panel Patter
Tuesday, September 30th – Finding Wonderland
Wednesday, October 1st – Fleen
Thursday, October 2nd – Beth Fish Reads
Friday, October 3rd – Supernatural Snark
Saturday, October 4th – Book Sake