over Batman, Superman, and the other classic superheros! There are some
new kids in town who are bent on making the world safe from the
monsters that kill adults and kidnap children.
We met Battling Boy in the 2013 eponymous graphic novel by Paul Pope. One of the minor characters from that novel is the teenage Aurora West. She may have had a small part in the first book, but we were left with the feeling that she will likely have a larger role in later Battling Boy stories.
Before we learn what happens if/when the two kids share information and power, however, Pope takes a step back and tells Aurora's story in his new graphic novel, The Rise of Aurora West (the first in pair of prequels).
Through expressive and detailed black-and-white drawings by David Rubin, we get to know the multidimensional Aurora from toddlerhood to teen. She not only helps her father--Haggard, the famous monster-fighting hero--but also has her own strengths, ideas, and mission.
Foremost in her mind is discovering the truth about her mother's death, which happened a decade earlier. Using clues from her own memories, supplemented with reference books and help from a friend, Aurora is starting to develop a theory about happened that fateful night and which monster might be responsible.
Meanwhile, she is in training with her father and the formidable Ms Grately, who lives with the Wests. When Aurora's not studying, she is keeping fit and is learning to shoot blaster guns, use jet packs, and drive a cool car. Click on the scan (pp. 1-2) to get a feeling for the art and characters.
Although classic superheros weren't my go-to comics, I've enjoyed getting to know Aurora. The Rise of Aurora West has a nice balance of action and narrative, and the monsters are cleverly imagined and fairly scary. This standalone spin-off of the Battling Boy series, gives Aurora depth and builds our sympathies.
As part of the First Second blog tour for The Rise of Aurora West, I'm excited to share with you two pieces of original, exclusive art from David Rubin. I love seeing Monkey Rabbit come alive from sketch to final art. And as you can tell from the bottom drawings, despite the monster's cute face, this is one creature you don't want to mess with!
To learn more about The Rise of Aurora West, visit the Macmillian website and check out the other blogs on the tour, where you can see more very cool original art by David Rubin. (click image to enlarge)
Macmillan / First Second, 2014
Source: Review (see review policy)
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