The Rise of Aurora West (Battling Boy) - Paul Pope, JT Petty, and David Rubin
The Rise of Aurora West is a prequel or companion to Paul Pope's Battling Boy, a new graphic novel series set in a world of monsters and villains, that is short on heroes to save the day. In this prequel, readers are given the opportunity to learn about one of Battling Boy's allies, Aurora West, the daughter of talented scientist Haggard West.
Pope, Petty, and Rubin pack a lot into this slim companion volume. We are introduced to new heroes, new villains, and a mystery involving the death of Aurora's mother. Not only is the story itself fast-paced and intricately illustrated, but the characters are fully constructed and complex.
I found myself getting pulled in from the first page, with Aurora and Haggard attempting to foil a plot masterminded by an unknown figure shrouded in darkness. After following some random minions/monsters, Haggard and Aurora are led to Medula, a rather menacing and disturbing-looking character, but one who is still working for someone else. Someone that is much, much more devious.
Much like Battling Boy, the plot moves quickly, almost frantically, meaning that readers need to pay careful attention to the images as well as the discussion and description of events. There are many disturbing and intriguing monsters throughout that will capture the imaginations of many readers, such as myself. I quite enjoyed the flashbacks, as well, where we learn about Aurora's past with both of her parents. There is also a significant mystery component that will keep readers engaged as well. This is a fabulous addition to the Battling Boy universe and I can't wait to see it come out for real in September!
(Note: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out September 30, 2014)