Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review - Rosa Goes for a Walk

"Let me tell you my sad, sad story little one."

When you hit a certain age, there are some things about your past life you end up missing. It may be a loved one, it may be a certain memory. Or you may miss the spirit of adventure, prompting you to pack up and move on to a big adventure to see the world in its current state. That's the premise behind Rosa Goes for a Walk.

Rosa Goes for a Walk is written and illustrated by Nic Lawson.

Rosa is an old woman who manages a hotel in an abandoned town. She maintains the building and handles all the daily duties that come with such a role, including a thirst for adventure. That thirst leads to Rosa taking a walk, an action which allows her to encounter a myriad of individuals that offer her food for thought. Not only that, but there's adventure around every turn, enough of which makes Rosa come to some very sobering realizations about her place in the life she's living.

Lawson's work is very reminiscent of Up. It's an obvious (and easy) comparison, save without the mammoth heartbreak that the film opens up with. Rosa is leading a relatively quite life full of routine, but it's breaking the routine that gives her reason to venture outside. Rosa does have the history of adventure to rely on; a history that she pines for through reviewing her memory books. The majority of the work is purely illustrations, with Lawson telling a story through art as opposed to dialogue. There is some dialogue towards the end that gives a little more context to the story itself, but by and large it's most told through the art.

Speaking of the art, Lawson has chosen a rather unique style that matches the story. It's playful and reminds the reader of something in a kid's book. The only thing is that the art pretty much requires an adult to be present while reading; not because of mature themes, but because there's a lot to take in and without words it's up to the art to do all the talking. There's one very effective full-page panel that shows everything going through Rosa's body as she prepares to embark on her journey, which really allows the reader to empathize with her expected plight.

Rosa Goes for a Walk isn't exactly a feel good story. It's meant to be, but there are some events that really make you wonder about Rosa and her impact on the world around her. There's also a pretty big typo titling one of the chapters that misconstrues who Rosa actually is, which doesn't really detract from the story in the end. Still though, the originality has to be appreciated in the work, despite it feeling a little lost in terms of its audience. Rosa comes to realizations about life that everyone comes to at some point, which does make the work slightly profound, but it feels as if Lawson was reaching higher than the level at which the story actually delivers.

Rosa Goes for a Walk is available now via comixology.


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