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There’s No Going Back After “No One’s Rose” #3

The conflict between siblings Seren and Tenn is the heart of No One’s Rose. Each issue so far has been narrated by both, and #3 is no different. But it also irreparably separates the pair in a way the story has never done before. As their stories finally begin to diverge, we watch their competing morals come to a head.

Seren and Tenn have each shown inner turmoil over where their allegiances should be. This is a trend that continues to this point. However, by the issue’s end, the siblings each make a choice from which there will be no easy return. If we are to believe that act one into two is the point in a story where a lead character can’t turn back, No One’s Rose #3 surely appears to have set the stage for the comic’s main act.

Indeed, this issue brings all the pieces of the story into play. We have an untrustworthy face of the PELU organisation – Joro – making a colourful appearance. Joro’s greater influence over Tenn rather than the council alongside her animous altruism comes off just a bit too suspicious—especially in contrast to the propaganda and bureaucracy of the world that Thompson and Horn have set up. That same influence of propaganda is present in this issue from both sides; Drasil competing for the favour of the biodome’s population with pickets and protests.

We finally touch on the mystery around Seren and Tenn’s radical father. While not totally clarified, the issue introduces his biggest import to the series: why he and his children are so important; his Almanac. This is a laboratory filled with uncannily-familiar flora and fauna; a laboratory of the father’s work. This sequence and reveal is the most curious moment in the issue. It rests on the eclectic details of Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque’s backgrounds, and introduces more questions than it answers.

Raul Angulo’s colours are still in top form and work in perfect tandem with Hassan Otsmane-Elhauo’s lettering. Seren and Tenn have had respective colour schemes consistent since the first issue. Because of this, it’s hard not to appreciate a moment like in the first few pages of No One’s Rose #3. As Seren runs away from the Drasil, the bright greens, browns, and oranges fade away as the blues and purples of the city and underground replace them. We then seamlessly switch to Tenn’s story.

Perhaps the most striking image of the issue is in its last few pages; the new aesthetic of the transport and suits for the world outside the dome, as well as that setting itself. These white space suits with orange highlights look unlike anything else in No One’s Rose so far. One can also say the same for the large crab-like bus they ride. A splash introduces the suits and vehicle with several panels underneath. This layout is directly reflected on the next page when we are reintroduced to the world outside of the dome in another splash bleeding across the bottom.

There’s a real feeling at the end of No One’s Rose #3 that we’ve now had the world unveiled. While there are still mysteries to discover, we now also have as much understanding of the setting as our young leads. We learn about the Almanac and new groups like the Rel’kers with Tenn and Seren. They find these as strange as we did when we saw their regular world in the first issue. Now, without one another, and each wandering further into unfamiliar worlds, there’s a new sense of danger for each of our heroes as we move into the story’s second act.

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Matthew Smith

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