COMIC REVIEW: BATTLING BOY – THE RISE OF AURORA WEST / AUTHOR: JT PETTY, PAUL POPE / ARTIST: DAVID RUBIN / PUBLISHER: FIRST SECOND / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 12TH
Paul Pope’s Battling Boy introduced to us to an anarchic world filled with monsters and square-jawed action heroes. This prequel, The Rise of Aurora West, isn’t quite more of the same, being a more frenetically paced affair. It is a tale of loss and redemption as well as a fine comic book about a young lady beating seven bells out of monsters.
Aurora was always the most interesting character in the original Battling Boy book, and it seems that her creator, Paul Pope, agrees. The tale follows Aurora’s childhood, from the early years where she learned that her parents were pulp-style action heroes to the events that led to her to following in her father’s footsteps. Aurora is relatable, intelligently written and nicely handled. The plot is pretty straightforward, though there is a charming touch of Egyptian-style supernatural horror throughout, which is just gentle enough to be enjoyed by fans of spooky things of all ages.
Rubin’s art is a complex mix of super-simplified cartoon joy and subtle fine details. It takes us to a world where the wrong squiggle in the right place can lead to total and utter disaster for everyone. This helps brings the milieu of Acropolis City into sharp focus; everything from action hero Haggard West’s stylised car to monsters that are seemingly a cross between Muppets and sharks have been lovingly designed and thought out. The art is filled with clever little call-outs to the ongoing plot and works very well with the text.
This prequel is perfectly readable without any prior knowledge of the series and those new to Battling Boy will be fine to start here. Stuffed with rocket packs, monsters, Egyptian mysteries, mild peril and lots and lots of punching, The Rise of Aurora West is a welcome addition to the growing number of books that can be enjoyed by pulp fiction fans of all ages.