In the span of time between issue #1 and issue #2 of No One’s Rose, this series has become a more relevant commentary on the current state of the world. It earnestly captures the current dynamics people are being challenged by through institutions without speaking down to its readers.
An easy selling point was for the comic would be to focus on a riot occurring. Instead, Horn and Thompson go for the throat. This issue really explores an ideology of change within societies through its characterization of Tenn and Seren. One wants to believe in the system and change it from the inside while the other simply wants to demolish it. While these ideologies differ, there isn’t one that is being given preference over the other. Horn and Thompson give each argument equal evidence.
As much as I’m intellectualizing this issue for its social relevancy, it’s also just bonkers fun. There’s a riot, a psychedelic trip, and a trial within this second issue. While these three scenes shouldn’t fit, Horn and Thompson manage to have these plots explore character, theme, and plot beautifully. There really is no other book like this — the best comparison I can make is Hickman’s X-Men run. It’s so much fun exploring the Green Zone, and the dual narratives can hold their own. Any time a book can eloquently visualize Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road”, it has my stamp of approval immediately.
The real joy of this book is getting to see all of Alberto Alburquerque’s artwork. With all of the insane plot and world-building details Horn and Thompson have brought, Alburquerque masterfully ties everything into the same fluid line work. His panel layouts alone manage to hold a strange, frenetic pace that matches the ethos of the contents inside. But more so, each panel appears as though it were its own crafted piece. For most artists, these panels would come off as stilted, but Alburquerque continues the stories momentum in each panel while still allowing readers to marvel.
The real MVP of this issue for me was the coloring. Raul Angulo does a marvelous job in giving each location a distinct value (and his work on the psychedelic scene is probably one of my favorite pages). Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou enthralls the book with lettering that adapts the reader for each scene. In many ways his balloons and captions capture the voices of these characters and their pathos. Having waited a long time for this book, it does not disappoint. I’m excited to read more on this story, and for others to read. Definitely worth going to a comic book shop for a pickup.
On a side note, I’d just like to point out some wonderful things these creators did relevant to current events. Zac Thompson wrote down his thoughts in the fifth edition of his newsletter on the current protests. It’s really informative to get his perspective as a Canadian. He doesn’t delve into these things but offers areas or topics for people to look up; things I, as an American, am highly ignorant of and wasn’t made aware of until reading it. For instance, he brings up Canadian law enforcement being a means to control indigenous people. Overall, its a good reference and offers areas of insight discussing police reform while not being overwhelming in its dictation.
Emily Horn should also be given a follow on Twitter. Her tweets are either about No One’s Rose (which you should pick up) or social relevance. She has tweeted out articles and essays about being an ally to the protests and has also mentioned the importance of observing safety in the pandemic. She manages to always take from the ether and offer content to make people better.
I am genuinely appreciative of No One’s Rose #2. It is a book that expands itself and makes us hope for a better world. It’s good to see that people are standing up for themselves, and are in solidarity with each other.
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