Writers: Zac Thompson, Emily Horn
Artist: Alberto Alburquerque
Colorist: Raúl Angulo
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Editor: Adrian F. Wassel
Publisher: Vault Comics
I read No One’s Rose #1 quite a few times over the past two weeks. It kept me coming back and, each time, I found more to love about it. I want to get one thing out of the way first: No One’s Rose is brilliant and it is coming at exactly the right time. The last couple weeks have been a thorough reminder that: Hey, wow! The world is a bit of a mess! It can be easy to fall into the trap of despair when chaos is swirling around you. Luckily for us, there’s art to remind us to hope — even when it’s hard, even when the odds seem impossible.
Hope needs to be clear-headed and, thankfully, writers Zac Thompson and newcomer Emily Horn refuse to pull punches. The post-Anthropocene Era is a gnarly one. Within the first two pages, a nameless character, running through a ruined world, slips, falls, and melts in a pool of toxic sludge as the narration tallies up the various ways humans failed the planet. The last remnants of humanity live within the Green Zone, a fully sustainable domed biome built around Branstokker (a “super oxygenating tree”). The Green Zone is lush and bright, but not all is perfect in this new society. And that brings us to Tenn and Seren.
Tenn Gavrillo is a bio-engineer who could reclaim the world. We see her injecting genes into a sapling, attempting to bolster its power to retain carbon dioxide and output oxygen. She is ambitious and optimistic. Her brother, Seren, works to make “freshwater from shit.” We see him climb Branstokker with his partner, venting about the rigid class system that keeps the Green Zone running. He is rebellious and angry.
For my money, the smartest choice that Thompson and Horn make is to narrow in on these two. Their competing perspectives and internal monologues give us insight into this world that neither could give on their own. It makes the world of No One’s Rose feel instantly real, lived in, and, importantly, precarious. Both of them are fighting for a better future, in their own way. The tension between them, when paired with the genuine love that the siblings have for each other, connects the reader to the world of the book intimately.
And what a gorgeous world it is. Alberto Alburquerque, Raúl Angulo, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou are in perfect sync here, linework, colors, and lettering blending together to take full advantage of the form. It’s the subtle things, like the way that one blackened leaf falls through the layers of the otherwise technicolor city. Or the slight differences in how the boxes of Tess and Seren’s internal monologues are designed. Those subtleties make the grand moments, like a splash towards the end of the book, just click.
I could go on and on, but seriously, just go read it. No One’s Rose is a splash of color and a beam of hope in a muted and dark time. This book is something special, and I can’t wait to see it grow and blossom.
This title will be available March 25, 2020.
No One's Rose #1
A Broken World10.0/10
Artists on Overdrive10.0/10
Beginning in Bloom10.0/10
- Science fiction that dares to dream big.
- A strong grounding in two compelling characters.
- A lovingly rendered future.
- Legitimately gorgeous coloring.
- Expressive lettering.
- I want the second issue, like, now.