Rose #1 Review
Writer – Meredith Finch
Artist – Ig Guara
Colors – Triona Ferrell
Letters – Cardinal Rae
Publisher – Image Comics
I’m a pretty simple person, when I see a fantasy story with a female lead I get excited. From what I could tell, Rose #1 was going to satisfy that itch, however, after reading it I was left confused. I understood the story just fine but I wasn’t a fan of it and I couldn’t understand why. This first issue offers some background on the world we’re reading about and the situations leading up to who Rose herself is but didn’t find myself overly interested in the world building and was left with no connection to Rose as a character. Thankfully, the book has lovely artwork and shows promise for future issues.
The story starts off with a mother telling her son about how the world went from a peaceful place to one filled with terror and death. Once protected by magic and powerful guardians, these are now since long gone and anyone with magic is killed by the regime. And then we meet Rose who is obviously special because she has red hair and can use magic, she lives a simple life with her mother until the evil queen’s forces attack and destroy everything. Things start off slowly, using death and murder as a guilt trip to get readers invested in the story, but that’s Rose’s job, and despite being the titular character, she isn’t seen much in this issue. The writing isn’t bad but everything seems very paint-by-number. What I took from this was that Rose is good, the queen is evil and the world everyone lives in is pretty bad. I felt the pacing was off but even moreso, I wasn’t left with anything to think about or any memorable moments.
Thankfully, this issue has really good artwork for your eyes to feast on. The use of colors is very nice, especially with shadows and darkness. This is a pretty dark story so far and the artwork does help convey that. There is war and death all around, but I noticed the colors around Rose tend to be a bit brighter and happier while those used in scenes with the queen were darker in tone and shade. While it’s already obvious who is bad and who is good, it’s nice when the artwork also tells us this even if it’s subtle. The characters themselves have great expressions and body language, they’re all very animated. I felt that the queen in particular had great scenes and was drawn beautifully.
Rose #1 disappointed me. I have yet to connect to any character, not even the lead, and the overuse of war and death in just the first issue seemed like a guilt trip to try and press readers to feel something for people we don’t even know. I still want to learn more about Rose and hope that I can connect with her, I know first issues can sometimes be a rocky start and I do see some glimmers of hope in the issue that can hopefully shine more as the series continues. As it stands now, I find it hard to recommend this issue. The artwork is good and the story isn’t bad at all, but it has a lot of growing to do. If you like fantasy and female leads then it might prove something you want to take a chance on and see how future issues fare.