Thursday, August 18, 2016

Battling Boy Presents: The Fall of the House of West

When I finished the first volume of this arc I wanted more, I wanted there to be another book within the year or month from the first book, since I didn't know when it was published, though I had to wait a year, then another year, since moving and getting another job. Time has been an interesting concept in this present, though reading has been a pleasure in life. I can never thank those that make life more interesting and fantastic. Again thank you JT Petty  and Paul Pope for writing and David Rubín for your glorious illustrations in this stupendous fictitious tome. Let's dive into The Fall of the House of West (and the jetpacks)!

Again this isn't a scene that happens in the book, though this is something that I really wanted to see within this novel. Though she does appear with this jetpack within Battling Boy toward the end.  It's not that inspiring of a cover, the face of this book is of an action scene, a fully charged blaster, a rage filled Aurora, and a JETPACK burning, forcing our heroine through the air, projecting her to an unseen enemy. Really great, though this isn't a cover story that a casual reader would pick up. On the flip side I'm someone that's read the first volume of this series and this cover excites me, it's an informative exaggeration of the events that will proceed in this volume the events that happened in the last volume. This is a back and forth, since it's really cool, though it's not a great cover, the title is readable and the character is in full, though there's no story, it's all emotion, but I guess that's the statement that's wanted. Personally I like the last cover, it showed doubt and action and a relation between many different thoughts, this is a little more blunt. It's telling me that this will be more oriented with kinetic energy and drama, less on world building, this is the answer book. I agree with and don't, like I said it's not going to get new people into the series by cover alone, but it has people that have followed since all too excited. Let's break into this book and move away from the cover, there's a lot more and too much implied even from page one.

With the closing of the first volume we open to the last moment Aurora's obsession with Coil and her Mother. It's a natural desire to want to know more about a person whether it's for a positive goal or a negative one. This continues that idea that Aurora might not be all that connected to reality, since she does have a Science Hero Father. It's kinda like Wally West or Zatanna where their lives were totally weird and they had to deal with it. I wouldn't say Dick Grayson, since he was down with all the weird stuff, something about his adventurous spirit seemed off to me, though later became Nightwing and lost a lot of that feeling. Anyhow we see her take on a monster herself, the design of the creature reminds me of something Jay Stephens would draw, in short I love it. Everything from the idea of how it attacks to what's on its face and the fact that it's in a leisure suit is just icing on the cake. She attacks this monster that seeks all that glitters and gleams. It's an amazing five pages, though it ends dramatically with the entry of Haggard. This is where we start to see the sinister side of Aurora, the side of her that makes me wonder if her obsession with Coil is healthy, though his death would settle her mind more, but only if she knew the reason why he killed her.

Next day at school she confronts her friend, still unnamed (unless he was, then I just don't care enough) and she belittles and mistreats him for his cowardly retreat, leaving her there to fight on her own. He left her there for dead, the sympathy for him is not within me, though I hope he makes it up to her somehow. Then we pop into a car with our main heroine and Ms. Grately, it seems that our mysterious one legged nanny knows a lot more than she lets on. They have a bit of a talk, a conversation that puts the evening's events into perspective. It's foreshadowing and informative that we focus on the now, on the objective that we desire and less on the outcome of the action. This doesn't stop her and she get's her solo night.

Mostly it's been quiet and calm for the few days that patrol has been separated, though a scream and a cry is heard from an unknown location. Aurora runs toward the shrieking tone and finds a child wrapped up and the informant from The Rise of Aurora West is the culprit. He shows more gumption than he did in the first part, it seems a lot of monsters don't know too much about Aurora and her talents. Again this seems to be a running theme in this series, that it reflects coming of age heroes, specifically Wally West, a hero that's taking up the mantle of their fallen mentor (see this in the first ten pages of Battling Boy). Though reacting more aggressively then needed, it's a cliche, but she's reacting and being sloppy because of her anger. That's the feeling we need in the scene, that she's not focusing, that finding her Mother's murderer is more important than anything.

She finds out about the "Big Boss" and that he's the one that's controlling all of the monster, if not commanding a majority of them at the least. The informant reacts aggressively now that Haggard isn't with her and she sets him in his place (with a metal ladder). Then we're with the Hooded Figures, a little more talk about how the weapon is being built and what it will mean for Haggard to be in the right place at the right time. And that's when the informant walks into the bar to set up the pins.

Cutting from the night patrol to the kitchen of the West manor, Ms. Grately greeting the Wests from their night out and takes the young West to see a personal moment from her past. It's the dossier of her Mother, from her Death to her autopsy to all the monsters with seven fingers dead. In the beginning of the book Aurora talks about all the accomplishments that she had, everything that her Mother did to be this great Science Hero. And how her father and mother became an unstoppable force, then monsters appeared and everything when South for the West family and the World. Aurora takes pages from the dossier before handing the book back to Ms. Grately, though this doesn't stop her from looking into herself in meditation. It's a really interesting stopping point, it seems that Mr. Wurple is trying to tell the monsters that Haggard and Rose have created a machine that's awesomely destructive. Which will end them all, unless they're warned, so Mr. Wurple acts fast and tricks Aurora into sneaking into the garage and steals a car, though not before making the little girl cry and run away. This triggers her Mother to chase after her, but not the her that fell down why sprinting away in tears, the one that is truly Mr. Wurple in a car, so she zooms after the inky horror.

Oona Kulte doesn't deal with a lot of machines, she loves her friend Gom,
though anything that's not autonomous scares her more or less.

The next morning, after allowing Ms. Grately into her activities, Aurora's trust is tested and betrayed by her trusted friend and teacher. Ms. Grately showing Haggard the map of the Hooded Figures' haunts and hangouts, he loves her work, but this obsession is unhealthy and he knows this (most likely first hand). She's grounded for the time being, no more solo patrol. This is justified since Ms. Grately lost her leg last time she was solo patrolling the City and Haggard lost his wife, nothing in the World is more important to these two people than Aurora West. This is a teenager, so there's a lot that she doesn't understand, though there's a lot more that she understands than I did when I was her age.

Anyhow, we pop over to the cliche tree and pop another piece of fruit, let's crack it open and see the message hidden inside. Aurora manipulates the process to get what she wants, so she calls the guy that bailed on her for a ride to the cat food factory to talk with the informant. Though gets caught by Ms. Grately when trying to leave, Haggard like any Father finds them and over reacts. It's a really horrible scene, the kid's car is destroyed, the kid get's thrown in jail for the night-ish, and the girl he likes was just using him for his car (so a quick lesson on choosing the right friends). I mean it's horrible emotionally, it's a lot of negativity, though that's perfect for what needs to happen, it's a lot of build up and tension for a pay off. Haggard calls Ms. Grately for a pick up and a jetpack, then walks off the screen as the boy's car explodes in the background.

Aurora continues to pursue, finds the treacherous informant who sends her to follow Coil at a certain location. It's an obvious trap, he takes her for a jog, it's a wonderful lay out and display of the artist's skill. The characters running and jumping about while interacting with each other, it's very well planned, also the shading, this is the best spread in the book. She literally falls for the plot that the Hooded Figures direct her toward, then while in the pit she's captured by one of the Spider-Women that they hirer for net making. The Hooded Figures then take her to the location that they set up for Haggard to be killed. We get a quick flashback and there's a lot that's been building up about the reveal of who killed Rosetta West, we see that moment in the past that Coil was the only one apart of and still lives. At this point we see the impossible being again, the shadowed figure from Battling Boy, this is the one that gives Mr. Wurple his body and a group of others that will destroy the one that sealed them into the underground and hunts all monsters. The one point that the scene wants to make is that the effect of an explosion takes place where Rosetta was, while looking for the then unseeable Mr. Wurple thinking it was Aurora. After the flashback we join the present where Aurora reveals that Coil might be the monster that killed Haggard's wife. When this was spoken and the notes' location to back this up was revealed her Father blasts into the sky to read her findings and finally settle the spirit and his mind on the death of his wife. Then Ms. Grately pulls up and tells Aurora the story that she's hidden from everyone, even her Father. Though during this conversation the Hooded Figures are making a plan to have Haggard stuck to a point and scrapped from the Earth.

Ms. Grately and Aurora have a sobering moment, the giant laser struck a larger point then they thought, so the mystery from the first volume has been solved. It was Haggard that killed his wife, though it was Ms. Grately that hid the body in the alley and mutilated her, the mystery of the seven fingered monster was an idea that Ms. Greatly hoped would drive him, but it almost broke him. This is devastatingly shown when Aurora enters her room, the place she sent her Father so Ms. Grately could bare everything to her. This is another moment in this series that I love, since this closes the bond between father and daughter, as he opens up about his wife and her mother, though this brings a larger foreboding plot.

Though the plot goes into a different direction, it shows the Hooded Figures executing a plan to grab Haggard West and murder him, also why not grab a lot of children in the process. The West family stops talking about Rosetta and suit up to save the day. Things are falling into place also the kinetic and skillful artist bouncing and spinning between the heroes and villains. It's more of a spectacle that needs to be seen, since it's a double page spread. Anyhow, since this is Juvie we get a moment with the school friend, who finally asks Aurora out and she declines, since he still left her for dead and she has been really demanding since they first met. Anyway you look at their closing as friends or anything, again her Dad sent him to Juvie. Haggard chases after a Hooded Figure as he tries to escape, though Aurora hears the informant, he keeps calling to the group of the Hooded Figures as the single one being stalked by Haggard goes in the other direction. Aurora was asked a question in the first volume and the informant has given her the answer to that question and brought her father closer to her. With a final action scene that shows a rebirth of a hero, a dark corner another hero crosses into, making sure that hope never leaves his mind. And with the end of this arc we begin again, back at the square with kids playing ball and a Hooded Figure sitting and waiting for the right moment to execute a horrible plan.

Overall this felt like one big two volume story, which it was, so great job there. This wasn't one of those, you can buy one or the other and fill in the blanks, this would be best read as one giant volume and I hope in the future they reprint this as one book, since it would look beautiful as a single edition. Now back to the plot, this felt like a classic writer moment, a moment that inspired a book, because it was that interesting. Though that gives way to the question, was Haggard or Aurora the main point of making Battling Boy or was Battling Boy a lead into the world of the West Family? I feel the Jetpack don heroes of this Science World were created for dynamic purposes, though were never intended to be core characters, just a nice reflection to Battling Boy and his own plot. Then inspiration took and a World needed to be built, one thing lead to another and history with mythology blossomed an amazing tale that created doubt, mystery, and action with jetpacks! If you're like me, you came for the jetpacks, though if you're also like me you wanted to solve the mystery, the teasing hints that certain characters kept relaying and watching the growth of Aurora West as she has to deal with her Father's shadows, past luggage, and keep his hopeful future bright. She shows that she's willing to protect the person she loves the most, and that's something she'll sacrifice her childhood to do so. Death never comes without a price and life is produced with actions. The volume is very thick with so much information, that's one thing I love, but the pacing seemed rushed, like there could have been more acting moments or pauses, an elongated drama between the family and this large burden. Though a third volume would be too much since not even the source series has a second volume. In short if you love lovingly crafted illustrations and a story that will answer all of your questions, then connect you back to the present, this is the book for you. Do read the first volume before thumbing through this edition, but I strongly suggest reading these two over arcing stories, even if you don't bother with the source series Battling Boy.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
Support the creator, check out your local library and read more from the Aurora West Arc.
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Keep well and Stay well.

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