Current Reviews


Gypsy Rose #1

Posted: Saturday, February 21, 2004
By: Ray Tate

Writer: Doug Miers
Artists: Ron Adrian(p), Rob Lean(i)
Publisher: Comics Conspiracy

One of the hardest questions a writer must answer is why now. Why now was the victim murdered? Why now after untold centuries did Nancy Drew find the body? In a shared world of superheroes, the answers become easier due to a change in environment and therefore a change in odds. Gypsy Rose does not take place in a shared world of superheroes and finds the answer to why now in its premise.

The interesting premise to the title gives an explanation as to why Rose must be on constant move and on occasion put herself at risk. That she wishes not to place others in danger is only one of her many engaging qualities.

Doug Miers writes Rose as having intelligence and experience in the areas of the occult and critical thinking. A character constantly on the run would need to possess skills in the latter to survive. She is also written as having street smarts and knows how to manipulate weaponry. Driving a motorcycle fits with what appears to be a gymnastic sense of balance exhibited in a particularly impressive illustration of a well-executed leap.

This chapter of Gypsy Rose is very involving through dialogue and the situations. The book opens with Rose inadvertently trespassing as she bathes in a lake. Rose is in the wrong and the rancher who owns the land is rightfully upset--although this is mitigated by the fact that a nude woman is bathing in his lake. Rose does not treat the rancher in a cocky or arrogant manner. She knows she's in the wrong and even attempts to warn the rancher of an even harsher trespasser on the way.

Mr. Miers continuously makes the point of showing that Rose is not looking for trouble. When trouble does find her in a latter scene, the dialogue rivets your attention and creates an unusual first step to thwart a menace that could plausibly be found in the real world. One of the fascinating accomplishments of the scene is how quickly Mr. Miers changes the roles of the characters. Rose no longer is treated as an outsider. The loathsome Roy is exposed as an outsider.

The artwork for being Americanime is surprisingly good. Penciller Ron Adrian while unfortunately taking the anatomical detours most artists enamored by the dawning Image style take still sketches with a smart attention to camera angles and storycrafting. You never lose your place in the artwork, and his work isn't nearly as busy as others in the field. However, this attention does not disguise the fact that Rose hasn't much in terms of a waist. Her breasts jut out ridiculously; although the artist does at least give them some proportion to prevent her torso from caving in. Her lips blimp with collagen, and while her eyes escape the typical drug-glazed look associated with the style, he still puts those stupid little annoying lines several inches--with regard to the actual hypothetical scale--from her orbs that appear on every American anime figure. The significance of these lines has always and will always escape me since there's little musculature or folds of skin at the point where the lines are drawn.

Inker Rob Lean compensates for the failings of the style. His inks create texture to hair and leather. He also enhances the overall depth to the body that Mr. Adrian bestows. Most American anime looks flat, but both artists really give all the characters especially Rose a strong look that gives the illusion of three-dimensions. Also they avoid the slammed-by-frying-pan look to the face and the weird noses often squashed on American-anime skulls; simply look at Mike Turner's or Rob Liefield's artwork, and you'll see what I mean. In fact, Rose's nose is a pretty spectacular creation and bears a Romany ethnicity that makes her a one-of-a-kind beauty.

I was pleasantly surprised by Gypsy Rose. Yes, the artwork has a downside, but there are assets to the pencils. The inking and the writing furthermore pick up any slack.

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