Review - Supreme: Blue Rose #1

"And then it all changed."

Characters and properties are created by creators all the time. Some of them go onto live full, creative-infused lives rife with multiple comic books and various other forays into transmedia. Others are left to their own devices, typically not much more than a solid idea that doesn't really get the backing it may deserve. Supreme: Blue Rose #1 from Image Comics is something that falls into the latter category, with a brand new take on an familiar book. The issue is written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Tula Lotay and lettered by Richard Starkings.

Diana Dane has been tasked with a strange mission? That mission is to find Ethan Crane while failing to trust Darius Dax, the latter tasking her with finding the former. All characters involved seem to be part of a broader dream where the lines of reality are blurred. What Diana will quickly find out is that there are quite a few people pulling her in different directions, including her own mental capabilities.

Supreme: Blue Rose #1 is a book that moves at a very glacial pace. In fact, Ellis doesn't really seem to accomplish much in the first issue other than setting up who are supposedly the three major characters involved. Other than that, there's not really much given to the reader in the way of what's actually going on. Ellis seems to be relying on the reader's knowledge of the property when Rob Liefeld and Alan Moore tackled it, which works to the detriment of the book. The first issue feels as if it was written as an issue somewhere in the middle of a series' run, not really giving any clues as to what's happening.

Lotay's art seems to fit the narrative of the unknown to some extent. Many of the panels look very ethereal and distant, fitting in nicely with Diana's mental state. There is a lot of random scribbles and scratches throughout that distract the reader from keeping up with what they should be focusing on. This gives the art a raw, sketchbook quality to it that feels appropriate on some levels for the content of the book, especially when its accented by the pastel color palette. Again, there's a dreamlike sensibility to the work that Lotay definitely nails.

For a first issue, Supreme: Blue Rose #1 feels like it doesn't really accomplish much. Diana is on a mission (adventure?) to investigate a mystery from years ago, but the rest of the parameters of that mission are a little unclear. Ellis' tale feels extremely ambitious and a little too reliant on previous knowledge of the property, something that hurts the reader's enjoyment of his take. Lotay's work is the right style for the almost scatterbrained mentality of the story, even if there are some instances where it feels a little too unfinished. Supreme: Blue Rose #1 has a long ways to go to achieve something of note and hopefully the next few issues can really pick up the pace and get the story moving.

Supreme: Blue Rose #1 is in stores now with interiors below.