Where do I begin with this very special Creator-owned Comics Spotlight? I think that I’ll start out by gushing over my love of the Battling Boy universe that Paul Pope has created. The story is incredibly fun and has more of a pulp vibe than your usual superhero comics.
This story started with a one-shot featuring the death of Haggard West that was played up as the final issue of a long-time ongoing series. This was a clever way to promote the Battling Boy graphic novel and the character of Haggard West has influenced the whole series to this point.
The story has spun off from the first Battling Boy title to give back story to the character of Aurora West. She appears as a second protagonist in Battling Boy as well as being the daughter of Haggard West who was trained her whole life to take over hero duties for her father.
Her story started with the pocket sized graphic novel, The Rise of Aurora West. This story established that Aurora had begun to use her father’s training to look into the death of her mother, Rosetta.
This story continues this week in the Fall of the House of West written by Paul Pope, JT Petty with art by David Rubin. It is worth mentioning that the book is in black and white and that the art is perfectly suited for the world established in Battling Boy.
The characters are all expressive and depicted in a way that is visually distinctive. It sometimes reminds me of the art in Chew and it is refreshing to see a young woman like Aurora looking like a teenager instead of a smaller version of adult super heroines.
While David Rubin is doing an incredible job on art, JT Petty is working with Paul Pope on crafting this backstory for Aurora. The writing is incredible and helps to dig deep into the mystery that plagues our main character. Who killed Rosetta West.
The writing and art also work well together to paint a picture of what Haggard West was like in life and his inability to deal with the death of his wife. It also shows us that despite training his daughter to be a hero, the loss of his wife pushes him to be over protective of his daughter.
I don’t want to spoil this story as I think it deserves to be read and experienced, but I will say that this story looks at what it takes to be a hero and the lies we tell ourselves and others to avoid harsh truths. It also shows the difference between two generations of heroes in our father/daughter duo.
At the end of the day, the two Aurora West books depict a tale of the heroes journey while also setting up and solving a mystery. The story does pay off the mystery set up in the first book so I recommend picking them both up at your LCS or through an online service like DCBS or instocktrades.
If you can track down the Haggard West one-shot and get a copy of Battling Boy it will likely increase your enjoyment of the Aurora West books, but I don’t believe they are necessary. However, I recommend at least picking up Battling Boy since there will be a new book at some point showing the continuation of that story as opposed to these prequels.
That’s it for this spotlight, but more will be coming as I will try to have a new post up each week by Thursday at the latest. Thank you and feel free to message me with any books you would like to see get the spotlight.