Publisher: Vault Comics
Writers: Zac Thompson & Emily Horn
Artwork: Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque
Colours: Raúl Angulo
Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Release Date: 25th March 2020
Hundreds of years after the demise of the Anthropocene, the world has become a poisonous wasteland, plagued by deadly super storms with the remnants of civilisation housed in a vast, domed city powered by renewable energy and centred around a huge, life-giving tree. But while some are driven to rebuild the barren world outside the dome and expand the utopian haven they dwell in, others want to see it all dismantled in order to save humanity, using whatever means are necessary.
Caught on opposing sides, Tenn Gavrilo and her brother Seren both believe that they are striving for the salvation of the world, but who will prove to be right, and what can be gained from destroying the only apparent safe haven humanity has left?
Zac Thompson and Emily Horn have pitched this series as a young adult sci-fi series under the uplifting-sounding genre of Solar-Punk. This story is set in a post-apocalyptic world, but this isn’t the usual Mad Max or Fallout style of adventure. Instead, this is a series that starts with a society who have accepted the failures of their Anthropocene forebears, and who understands that the road to survival is predicated on their coexistence and nurturing of the natural environment. This is not a society grasping for answers through technology and industry, as we would normally see in a post-apocalyptic tale, but is one that sees the Earth as a living being which they are duty bound to nurse back to health in order to save both it and themselves.
At its heart, No One’s Rose is being written as a commentary on climate change and where Thompson and Horn think we should be focusing our energies. As they have said regarding this series, climate change is a vast and tangled subject where there is no cohesive discussion, everything is about small parts of the problem without ever focusing on the issue as a whole. What they are offering in these pages is a more positive view of what can be achieved when all the rhetoric and posturing is set aside and a society works together for the betterment of itself and its environment.
Obviously, this is also a story about humanity, and how it is seemingly impossible for mankind to exist without conflict. However, what isn’t clear within this first issue is exactly what is driving that conflict. Even within this supposed utopia there is inequality, and this is very clearly shown by your position within the dome; the higher you are, the higher your social position. This, however, cannot be the whole story, for a group to want to willingly tear down what may be their only protection from the elements and their only hope of replenishing the earth, there must be a greater driving force behind their actions. It has long been a sci-fi trope that the supposedly benevolent leaders of a utopian society ultimately hide a dark secret, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some high-level intrigue and conspiracy.
The artwork in this issue is fabulous. Hell, the front cover alone looks like a 1970s rock album/fantasy poster that any self-respecting teenager would have proudly had on their wall. Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque and Raúl Angulo have done a fantastic job in bringing this world to life, and it looks like a lot of thought has gone into how the environment would actually work, how the dome would support life, and the mechanics behind it, while also producing some wonderfully artistic and fantastical images in the sculptures, costumes and habitation. Also, there’s a vibrancy in the imagery that really highlights the positivity of Thompson and Horn’s Message.
I really enjoyed this first issue of No One’s Rose. It’s something completely different, with a lot of thought behind it, and the artwork makes it great to look at as well.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek