The Rise of Aurora West

Any chance to return to the monster-ridden city of Acropolis is a welcome opportunity. Author/illustrator Paul Pope's 2013 Battling Boy was a fish-out-of-water story in which the chaotic city and the demonic baddies that besiege it overwhelm the newly arrived titular teenage hero. The Rise of Aurora West, on the other hand, is a prequel, giving readers a chance to explore more deeply Acropolis, its perils, and what first unleashed the monsters that prey on children at night. It's through Aurora West, daughter and apprentice to the great science hero Haggard West (think Batman meets Indiana Jones with Flash Gordon's tech) that we get a sense of what it's like to exist in this monstrous place, as Aurora pushes to uncover the secrets of her family's past. David Rubín takes over the illustration duties from Pope, and his black-and-white manga-style art lacks the splashes of color that helped make Battling Boy pop. But he does capture the dirty, crumbling, claustrophobic metropolis and the utterly insane chaos inherent to the monsters in everything from their emotions and physical form to their destruction and semblance of a moral code. Fans of the series, or those looking for an action-packed story suitable for younger readers, will not be disappointed with the return to Acropolis.