God of Comics – Rose #7
Rose #7 (Image Comics)
Ooo… fantasy trifecta.
We’ve gone from a reconstruction of fantasy tropes with an eye towards gender identity and politics to a deconstruction of the cost of prophecy in both urban and classic fantasy worlds and come all the way to this, a classic high fantasy tale.
Rose is about a young peasant girl who has been born with the gift of magic in a dying kingdom. There’s a Queen who is actively hunting and killing magic users in her kingdom for reasons that are tragic and rooted in patriarchy and maybe worse; the current Queen was the previous King’s firstborn daughter, disqualified from the throne because she was a girl and maybe also a bastard. She was sold into slavery, apparently, though she freed herself, discovered her magic, and has decided to ruin everything out of revenge.
I’m kinda hoping there’s more to her, but she is awesomely evil – she’s kidnapped, killed, and enslaved the previous guardians of the kingdom, used necromancy to keep her father as a slave, and bound and mangled her brother for laughs. She’s awful, though given her history you can understand why without sympathizing for her.
More surprising, perhaps, is Rose herself – having to deal with her anger and her fear, having to watch her village burn because the Queen hunts magicians and can sense magic and she didn’t understand what any of that meant. Innocence is no defense against evil, but kindness is. Like the movies Moana and Wonder Woman, Rose’s power is one based on healing and forgiveness. There’s a man that’s been hunting her, hating her for what she is, a man loyal to a Queen that doesn’t value him at all – and it’s when Rose forgives his anger and his rage that he begins to heal and comes to her side.
There’s a common misunderstanding of strength, where people think that strength is based on knocking things down. It isn’t; any idiot can knock a thing down, but true strength relies on picking and building things up and helping people to stand on their own. This is what Rose does, helps people find the best version of themselves and live that truth. She’s done it for bandits, for villagers, for knights and spirits.
Because this is a fantasy story, so the Guardians that Rose was born into have magic and a magical animal companion. Rose’s companion is a panther who locked himself away rather than by taken by the evil Queen, but he’s out and loose and maybe he can teach Rose how to magic while the knight can teach her how to sword. They should be quick about it, though, because the evil Queen has nabbed the leader of the rebellion and is planning to kill her this issue.
Oh, everything issue ends on a cliffhanger. It makes waiting the month for the next issue torture. Writer Meredith Finch is good at keeping the twists and turns coming, building up a strong world with a rich history and making everything feel like it’s lived in – which makes everything the Queen does feel more jarring. Artist Ig Guara and colorist Triona Farrell complete that sense, building a world and the people in it with skill enough that you think you could go there, could meet them.
It’s a lot of fun, is what we’re saying, and there’s a lot of depth to it. Give it a shot; you might like it.