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Supreme: Blue Rose has pretty much made it self the strongest contender for “series that I most admire” in this year, and it’s only at its second issue. Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay bring out some astonishing work in Supreme: Blue Rose #2. I may have mentioned in last month’s review that this series is how a grounded reboot of Supreme would probably be done? Well, that is something I would like to reiterate now, but with a lot more positive vigor.
The first issue was simply backdrop to the real surprises of this series. It seemed too ordered, too “realistic”, for its own good as a Supreme series. There are small hints here and there, but none managed to rate above cameo level. It just seemed to be due deference to old fans. This issue, however, goes for the full monty. In it Ellis pulls out plot points and characters that one wouldn’t have ever suspected. The only reason that they are there would be if Ellis really has a place for them. In this story and in his heart.
I guess the most prime example of this has to be the character who shows up on the very first page. The Literary Lawman himself – Storybook Smith. Smith is re-imagined as a worn, aged, writer who is contacted by who we can only guess is Zayla Zarn (of League of Infinity fame) for some mysterious reason. In this small scene, no more than three pages, Lotay’s art really manages to convey a great sense of weariness and maybe a bit of caustic wit in the mannerisms and expressions that Smith gives out.
Definitely on par with Ellis’ dialogue, which endear the reader to this character long unseen and favorably remembered. Supreme: Blue Rose #2 as a whole is about shaking off the façade of reality that the previous installment worked so hard to instill. Not only do we get the brief re-appearance of Storybook Smith, but also the long overdue reintroduction to the franchise of two characters not seen since Alan Moore first started his acclaimed and influential run. One of these characters, who I will intimate was one with a lot of potential, is pulled center stage right as she is introduced.
This sequence is in itself something noteworthy as it is a raw and powerful moment for both Ellis and Lotay. Ellis leads with frenzied and somewhat undecipherable, and disorienting, techno-babble while Lotay strikes the killing blow with the art itself becoming frenzied and energized, leading to a spectacular page that is nothing but color and passion – as this character becomes something more recognizable. Something Supreme. The only panel half as good is one in a Prof. Night segment. That is to say that this month really struck an amazing balance between the two aspects.
The grounded and the fantastical. It always seems to be a challenge nowadays in knowing exactly how much of either should go into a reboot, sometimes too little or too much of either can seem like cheating out for either half of the readership. Blue Rose has all but squashed those worries as of the final close of this installment, which not only brings another ally to the fold (Twilight of Professor Night’s entourage) but also hints at another Supreme villain in the mix. Ellis and Lotay are hitting a great stride and I hope it carries over next month, for this is something that can be supremely great.