Rose #1

A classic fantasy tale about a girl trying to restore balance to a broken world. Rose must connect with her Khat—Thorne—to become the Guardian the world needs. But things aren’t easy for Rose and Thorne, the powerful sorcerous Drucilla has many powerful and demonic allies—all of them focused on stopping one scared little girl who’s desperately trying to stay alive and do what’s right. Written by MEREDITH FINCH (Wonder Woman, Little Mermaid), and drawn by fan-favorite artist IG GUARA (Batman: Arkham Knight, Blue Beetle, The Ravagers).

So let’s get this out of the way: Rose apparently has nothing to do with Jeff Smith’s Bone. This was my first assumption, seeing as the names “Rose” and “Thorn” are pretty unequivocally linked to Mr. Smith’s series. There is a Bone prequel called Rose, which details the adventures of the character Queen Rose Harvestar, eventually known as Grandma Ben. To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, this Rose is not that Rose.

If all this seems confusing, I’m on your side. I’m not sure what this new Rose series is up to – whether the name similarities are a naïve coincidence (which is odd, considering how famous Bone is), or if it’s a misguided homage, or if it’s a sneaky attempt to get sales through association. Whatever the case, Jeff Smith needn’t worry: this comic is no match for his opus.

Let’s start with the art. I like Ig Guara’s linework, and the colors are quite good. Unfortunately his character models bear the worst aspects of Mainstream comics: exaggerated poses and costumes trying to cover up their basic lifelessness. While the images are extremely well-crafted, nothing pulls the reader in – the characters are just collections of lines.

But at least the artist has experience and technical prowess. Meredith Finch’s writing is a checklist of literary no-nos: There’s a long opening monologue; the protagonist has a “NOOO!” scene when her mother dies in her arms; the villainess spouts evil inanities; her general is nothing but a growl in a suit of armor. It’s not even camp – just flat and boring. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, there are magical cats – excuse me, “Khats” – involved, and it all adds up to a whole lot of nothing.

This comic is one of those weird specimens where the final product is nowhere near as interesting as the story of how it came to be published in the first place. What’s with the Bone name-associations? Or the awkward thank-you note at the beginning of the comic? How did an A-list artist get paired with a bush-league writer? Unfortunately the backstory isn’t my purview; I’m left with the rather dull finished product.

Final Verdict: 2 out of 5.

Rose #1 can be found at Image Comics

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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