No One's Rose #1

by Nick Devonald on February 29, 2020

Writers: Zac Thompson & Emily Horn
Art: Alberto Alburquerque
Colours: Raúl Angulo
Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

CTG have spoken to both writers about No One’s Rose, where their passion and enthusiasm for this comic is apparent. Both interviews make for really interesting and riveting reads, check them out here:
Zac Thompson
Emily Horn

No One’s Rose is a Solar Punk comic. Solar Punk, if you haven’t heard the term before (I hadn’t) is essentially a positive, hopeful imagining of your typical post apocalypse world. Or, as co-writer Emily Horn puts it “the anti “Mad Max” vision of the future". With this in mind we know we’re in for a unique and interesting take on our future rather than the doom and gloom we typically expect from Cyberpunk.

There is an important distinction which is needed to be made here. While the overall vision of the future is optimistic and hopeful don’t be fooled into thinking this is an idyllic society where everyone gets on and shares the same beliefs. The difference is the optimism that this world offers as opposed to the more cynical Cyber Punk or Post Apocalypse story. There’s still plenty of conflict here which makes for interesting storytelling.

This comic is filled with lots of interesting concepts and premises. And, as is common with all the best sci-fi stories, a lot of the themes are not only relevant now, but also important. Just because the setting isn’t recognisable doesn’t mean the message of this comic isn’t relevant. That is clearly a concept that Zac Thompson and Emily Horn have placed a lot of emphasise with and it works really well.
There is a fine line between introducing a brand new world filled with imaginative idea’s and losing the readers interest by making it a massive info dump. Thompson and Horn manage to tread that fine line, not only keeping it interesting but losing us in the story. Bonus points since a lot of writers struggle to introduce the story with the first issue, never mind this incredible, fantastical world that they have created.

One of the skilful ways they’ve done this is working incredibly closely with artist Alberto Alburquerque. So much of the worldbuilding is done in the intricate details he brings the world to life in. Thompson revealed when I interviewed him that this story had originally been conceived as a novel before the decision was made to make this a comic. That was such a good decision, since it allows the art to do some of the heavy lifting of the story, and I feel the finished product is much better as a comic.

All this talk on worldbuilding and I’ve barely even touched on the story yet. The majority of the story is focused in the Green Zone, a completely ecologically, sustainable city. It focuses on siblings Tenn and Seren. Haunted by their fathers betrayal of the Green zone they both have very different feelings, jobs and beliefs in the Green Zone and what it represents. These opposing views look to make up the majority of the story and after having them introduced in this issue I’m excited to see how they unfold and conflict going forward.

I’ve already mentioned Alberto Alburquerque’s art, and how the little details help expand on the worldbuilding. What I haven’t mentioned is how well he brings the world to life. For such a complex world an even bigger responsibility is placed on the artist to properly realize it and Alburquerque makes it look easy. He manages to show us the desolation outside the Green Zone, the beauty within, from the vertical gardens to the abundant foliage.

Raúl Angulo brings the world to life with fantastical colours. Since the foliage and tree’s are such an important part of the story it’s nice to see them brought to life here with some diverse and vibrant colours.

There are some brilliant lines in this issue as well. I'm not sure if it's Thompson or Horn that deserve the credit, or a combination of both, but I was hooked from the very first line, "In the past, our relationship with nature was rooted in a lie."

The only criticism I can throw at the comic isn’t necessarily a fair one. By fitting so much in to such a small number of pages the story itself doesn’t get as much chance to shine as it might otherwise. But this is through no fault of the writers, rather the format it’s written in, and I suspect reading the series in its entirety will negate that altogether.

A densely packed issue which draws the reader deep into its Solar Punk world, its themes and ideas are sure to linger on the mind long after you’ve put the comic down. A breath of fresh air in a world which feels increasingly pessimistic about the future. Some much-needed hope. Brilliantly brought to life by Alburquerque’s art and Raúl Angulo’s colours. Highly recommended.

Our Score:


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