The fantasy landscape is saturated with heroes chosen or born to be something great. Most of these heroes start from humble beginnings and their journey takes them somewhere magical where they discover their true selves and on and on and on. Now, of all of those heroes that start off on such a journey, how many of them were young women? Rose #2 adds another to the catalog.
In a genre that has been classically known for the male heroes to rescue woman, a female hero is not very common. In particular, a female lead who also starts off with humble beginnings and is forced upon a journey to discover her own magic is definitely not very common. We are happily seeing more of the strong warrior types thanks to the popularity of Xena and Wonder Woman. As enjoyable and fierce as reading those kind of stories, Rose comics lures female readers who used to or are still dreaming of being the lead character with all of the magic power.
The world within the panels Rose is already bleak. What was once a lush and fertile environment full trees and contented villages is now barren with people constantly living in fear of magic. According to the history in the comic, there was of a group called the Guardians that protected the people. They stood for right, justice, and bravery until something happened. Now, Druscilla Firstborn, ex-Guardian has become the Queen. She is a ruthless sorceress who trapped the fellow Guardians in a magical web and has destroyed any lingering magic by killing innocent people. To prove her strength, she seeks to eliminate all other potential magic users.
Even in this bleak world, there is a red-headed young woman named Rose who lives with her mother in a small village. Rose is harboring magic which her mother has carefully trained her to hide. We briefly see the tranquil life that she lives before tragedy sets the whole adventure going on Rose’s birthday.
By the end of Rose #2, we are barely starting on the journey, barely getting to know the Druscilla’s evil, and we barely get to see a Khat (a.k.a cat). Many pivotal events happen but it happens in a flash of a panel. A lot of attention does lingers upon how formfitting we can get Rose’s once sensible outfit before she’s running around the woods in her underwear. With each new adventure it becomes rattier with strategically drawn tears. Instead of finding this scandalous, I found it amusing. I really credit the amazing art style to Ig Guara. The style really hearkens to a familiar fantasy lands and worlds from the fantasy novels of decades ago. The occasional peekaboo of cleavage and interesting limb postures makes me wonder if it’s merely more of a wink and eye-roll to the genre.
It is a slow set up but it has some promise. Whether Rose’s character can deliver on that promise gains a cautious positive. She is not relatable nor is she annoying. Her beginnings immediately draws comparisons to Luke Skywalker. Both are young and away when tragedy strikes. How she handles herself and her mysterious magical powers will remain to be seen. Her impulsive and foolish decision that follows is fueled by grief than anything else. We will see how she grows from this experience. The thing that is most jarring however is the deer revival. It was used for a chance to be “caught” but the reactions from her companion was really seemingly over the top. It makes one wonder if there is an negative aversion to magic because of the fatal attraction it can catch or do people just fear magic. Which leads to another curious question on how does the magic work in this world.
As of now, there isn’t anything flashy or groundbreaking with this comic. What it does deliver so far is a fantasy story that is familiar in a aesthetically pleasing style. If that is up your aisle, catch up on Rose #1 and Rose #2 from Image at your local comic book store.
On a fun note, Wonderboy by Tenacious D came to mind after reading both comics.