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The Rise Of Aurora West Graphic Novel Review

The Rise of Aurora West Graphic Novel

“The Rise of Aurora West” pales in comparison to “Battling Boy.”

Hot off the success of the excellent “Battling Boy,” Paul Pope teams up with writer JT Petty and artist David Rubin on this “Battling Boy” prequel story titled “The Rise of Aurora West.” In this adventure, readers are taken back to the time period when the legendary “science hero” Haggard West was protecting Acropolis from monsters such as Sadisto, Coil, and Medula. This story is told from the perspective of Haggard’s teen daughter Aurora who is a student/monster hunter in training.  While there is a prevalent storyline about the monsters planning to build something powerful, the main story involves Aurora investigating the mysterious death of her mother Rosetta which may or may not be linked to a childhood imaginary friend.

Even though it should be analyzed on its own, it’s hard not to compare “The Rise of Aurora West” to “Battling Boy.” While “Battling Boy” was an exciting and ambitious story, ‘West’ lacks the scope, ambition, and intrigue of Pope’s previous work. Granted, the stories are completely different, but it often feels like this prequel story didn’t need to be told at all. Sure, it does offer up more characterization for Haggard and Aurora West, but it doesn’t feel integral to the overall story arc.

One of the other puzzling aspects of ‘West’ is the fact that Pope does not take on sole writing and art duties here. Instead, he shares a writing credit and lets artist David Rubin take on the artistic duties. While Rubin’s work is certainly detailed and worthy of praise, fans of “Battling Boy” will likely yearn for Pope’s distinct art style if for no other reason than to have consistency among the two graphic novels.

Perhaps the strangest thing is the fact that ‘West’ comes in a smaller than manga sized graphic novel. As you may recall, “Battling Boy” was packaged in a proper sized graphic novel that displayed Pope’s panels exceedingly well. With ‘West,’ not only is the font size far too small, but Rubin’s hard work has been shamefully shrunken down. A poor printing decision to be sure.

Note: The back of the graphic novel contains multiple character sketches.

Overall Thoughts: “The Rise of Aurora West” is worth a read, but I’d rather see a direct followup to “Battling Boy” instead.


November 8, 2014 - Posted by | Book review | , ,

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