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The Rise of Aurora West by Paul Pope
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The Rise of Aurora West

by Paul Pope

Other authors: J.T. Petty (Author), David Rubín (Illustrator)

Series: Battling Boy (prequel)

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Showing 5 of 5
As a parent, I can relate. :)

Of course I can. Everybody's given up. A city without children is a city without hope. You don't get to my age without realizing that everything you sweat and bleed to build will be dust and forgotten in a few years.

And the only things you can make worth something are your children. You put everything into them. Realize you never really loved anything until they came along.

Your whole life and some monster takes it away just like that. And the 'hero' who's supposed to protect the things you love is...worthless. Just another man. ( )
  hotsoup | Jul 16, 2015 |
Well, what a pleasant surprise! I did not like Battling Boy at all and didn't really have high expectations for this one. But wow, it was fantastic, nothing like Battling Boy, which I barely even remember and the art here is so much better. Which would be explained by it being done by David Rubin and not Paul Pope himself. A great monster-fighter story! A father trains his daughter to be his sidekick and eventually take over for him someday. There are mysterious circumstances surrounding the wife/mother's death and the girl is coming close to solving this. The book ends in a "to be continued" manner so nothing is wrapped up here. I liked the various monsters, they were interesting, and I loved the characters. ( )
  ElizaJane | Mar 17, 2015 |
The Rise of Aurora West by Paul Pope is a prequel or companion piece to Battling Boy and The Death of Haggard West, two graphic novels I haven't read. I read book three as part of the CYBILs.

So bear in mind this "review" is one written on an incomplete understanding of oeuvre. Many of my objections probably stem from those gaps. According to the blurb, it's actually a prequel, but I have a feeling that most of the stage was set with the previous books.

Aurora West is learning how to fight along side her father to defend the city from monsters. They live in a city that at one time was normal — meaning it was like our world, full of mundane routine, various forms of entertainment, and things in between. Now though, the city is in ruins and over run with monsters. Therefore Aurora's life is one of training and fighting and wondering what happened to her mother.

The latter half of the book is focused on Aurora trying to track down the truth behind her mother's death. In this regard, I was reminded of Generator Rex, where Rex is trying to understand what happened to parents and how their research was responsible for the event that changed the world.

Now Aurora's superhero / scientist father is apparently Acropolis's best bet for defeating the monsters. But he's presented as a bit of a blowhard. Maybe he's trying to protect his daughter, or maybe he's just an ass. His barrel shape character design and tendency to lecture, though, made me think of Jack Fenton (Danny Phantom).

Anyway, I wasn't blown away with the female hero in training. It was disappointing that her reason for becoming on was because of her mother's tragic death. That's too often the motivation for young women to rise above the "gender norms" to become something strong or heroic. ( )
  pussreboots | Jan 16, 2015 |
The Rise of Aurora West, Battling Boy
Written by Paul Pope, JT Petty, Illustrated by David Rubín
First Second
September 2014

Acropolis has a nightly curfew, in the attempt to keep kids safe from the monsters who prowl the streets and the dark alleys. They have one hero. Haggard West, a rich scientist, avenging the death of his wife at the hands of one of these foul creatures. Joining him is his teenage daughter, Aurora West. By day she is trained by Ms. Grately in martial arts and by night she prowls the city with her father, hunting down the creatures of the night and stopping their mischief. But Aurora remembers and learns that her imaginary friend from when she was younger...may have had a hand in her mother’s death and may not be so imaginary. As she seeks to balance school, the night hunts, and finding out the truth to the past Aurora may find that she has taken on more than she can handle. And may need all the help she can just not to fall.

This is one of those books that’s difficult for me review, because it’s a spinoff/prequel of one of my favorite books from last year, Battling Boy. Because the book isn’t a direct continuation of Battling Boy, but instead focuses on one of its more interesting side characters, Aurora West, the art, layout, and writing style is different. And that isn’t a bad thing, it just makes it harder for me to review, as I try to keep in mind that this is a completely different book.

With regards to the art I actually like David Rubin’s style a great deal. The figures are dynamic and expressive, and his style really captures the feel of the battles and villains well. The problem for me though is that it isn’t the Aurora West that we met in Battling Boy. And maybe that’s part of a strategic decision since this telling her story before we meet her. But I feel in love with Pope’s version of Aurora and it’s hard to look at someone else drawing her. I know that’s a common thing among superhero comics and we all have our favorite artists that work on a particular character, but for me it feels too soon to have someone else draw her right now. And that’s not really Rubin’s fault, it just pulls me out of book a little bit.

Where I do have some issues though, is that the art and writing in some places at the beginning of the book didn’t quite jive well, particularly with some of the panel transitions. On some of the pages where the grid is broken or tilted at an angle towards the beginning of the book I fall out of the story, because I veer to the wrong panel or just something jars me out. And while I can stand back and look at the page and follow the logic, when I’m reading the story I get drawn out for a couple of seconds trying to figure out what’s really happening, and that’s not a good thing in an action/adventure/hero story. And maybe its because this is the first time this group has worked together and they were finding their footing. By the end of the story I didn’t see as much of this and did get swept into the last quarter of the book and it’s action.

When it comes down to it though, I had trouble with aspects of the story and the art. It just didn’t capture my attention the way Battling Boy did. And although this one didn’t work for me in places, I still love Battling Boy and Aurora West though, so I’ll definitely give the sequel a read because I want to know what happens next. I want to know who this mysterious figure is and what really happened to Aurora’s mother. I give it three out of five stars.

ARC provided by Gina at First Second ( )
  zzshupinga | Jan 7, 2015 |
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
allthingsuf.com

THE RISE OF AURORA WEST takes familiar superhero tropes and flips them to a new angle, like a Batman story told through Robin's eyes. Though Aurora's monster fighting skills are a credit to her training, she's also the intellectually curious lens through which readers question her world. Where did this war against monsters begin? Where do they come from? And what really happened all those years ago on the night when Aurora's mother died...

Despite THE RISE OF AURORA WEST being a prequel to BATTLING BOY, this was my first introduction to the series. The compact, black and white illustrations in this graphic novel weren't easy to follow in the beginning, when the world and it's crime fighting technology were being established through frame after frame of rather confusing action. Once Aurora takes center stage, however, exploring the mysteries of her own past in an attempt to understand the present, the art in this book becomes more effective. While all of the adults in THE RISE OF AURORA WEST live in a world of black and white conviction, Aurora is filled with questions. I found her to be an excellent window into this world, as I had my own questions about right and wrong. The child stealing monsters that by turns evoked empathy and disgust, while at times "the good guys" seemed menacing and duplicitous.

These questions of nuance and motive aren't resolved by book's end, but I was still completely engaged in the story. And rather than finding definitive answers to her own questions. Aurora seemed in danger of settling into the familiar, potentially misguided sense of certainty as the adults around her. While I'm not ready to run off and read Battling Boy or Haggard's side of the story, if another Aurora book comes out I'm totally on board.

Sexual Content: None. ( )
  Capnrandm | Nov 12, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Popeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Petty, J.T.Authorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rubín, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Aurora West, daughter of Arcopolis's last great hero, seeks to uncover the mystery of her mother's death, and to find her place in a world overrun with monsters and corruption.

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