Series: Battling Boy Prequel #2
Published by First Second on September 30, 2014
Genres: Graphic Novel, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Sexual Content: None
Reviewed by: Julia
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 to Battling 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.
THE RISE OF AURORA WEST takes familiar superhero tropes and flips them to a new angle, like a Batman story told through Robin's eyes. Though Aurora's monster fighting skills are a credit to her training, she's also the intellectually curious lens through which readers question her world. Where did this war against monsters begin? Where do they come from? And what really happened all those years ago on the night when Aurora's mother died...
Despite THE RISE OF AURORA WEST being a prequel to BATTLING BOY, this was my first introduction to the series. The compact, black and white illustrations in this graphic novel weren't easy to follow in the beginning, when the world and it's crime fighting technology were being established through frame after frame of rather confusing action. Once Aurora takes center stage, however, exploring the mysteries of her own past in an attempt to understand the present, the art in this book becomes more effective. While all of the adults in THE RISE OF AURORA WEST live in a world of black and white conviction, Aurora is filled with questions. I found her to be an excellent window into this world, as I had my own questions about right and wrong. The child stealing monsters that by turns evoked empathy and disgust, while at times "the good guys" seemed menacing and duplicitous.
These questions of nuance and motive aren't resolved by book's end, but I was still completely engaged in the story. And rather than finding definitive answers to her own questions. Aurora seemed in danger of settling into the familiar, potentially misguided sense of certainty as the adults around her. While I'm not ready to run off and read Battling Boy or Haggard's side of the story, if another Aurora book comes out I'm totally on board.Series Titles:
- The Death of Haggard West
- The Rise of Aurora West
- Battling Boy
- Just as THE RISE OF AURORA WEST explores the hero/sidekick dynamic through the sidekick's eyes, HAWKEYE: MY LIFE AS A WEAPON shows an Avenger without his team.