Seal of Approval: BATTLING BOY by Paul Pope
Written by Grant Goodman, 12/24/2014
This is the first graphic novel I’ve reviewed for the site and, wow, this one is awesome.
Acropolis is under siege by monsters. Their only hero is Haggard West, who has used scientific research to design a way to fly AND (of course) to build himself a pretty sick gun that causes targets to burst into flame. Unfortunately, the Ghoul Gang (a cross between ninjas, mummies, and cobra commander) has a plan for Haggard West.
On a different plane of existence, Battling Boy is rounded up by his brute-force, monster-slaying god of a father and sent to Acropolis to battle its monsters and gangs. It is a coming of age process that all 12 year-olds go through.
I love the creativity at work here. There are spiders who weave armor. Cthulu can be found hanging out in the villains’ bar. The mayor has a PR team to manage Battling Boy’s image.
The artwork is explosive and brilliant. Pope’s linework is manic, his monsters are Ralph Steadman versions of nightmare kaiju. Battling Boy’s super-macho father is a hilarious spectacle of muscle and violence. The color symbolism is clear: the Ghoul Gang is dressed in dark clothes, Battling Boy wears all white.
There’s also the matter of Aurora West, daughter of Haggard. She doesn’t get much panel-time in this volume, but all of it is fascinating. The second volume of the story is titled THE RISE OF AURORA WEST and I suspect it will shine much more light on her and her life. I can’t wait to read it!