Rose and Isabel Graphic Novel Review

Rose and IsabelErica gives this comic five stars

Rose and Isabel by Ted Mathot

I picked up this graphic novel randomly at the last Emerald City Comicon. I love going to comic conventions to meet indie artists and find their books. I can’t ever decide if ECCC is becoming a better or worse venue for this. But that’s neither here nor there. Usually, when I’m looking, I try to find books by people I don’t know and ones featuring “strong” women protagonists.

Rose and Isabel definitely fits the “strong” woman bucket. In fact, there was such an emphasis on it that I started off the book a bit skeptical if I was going to really like it. Or if Rose and Isabel were going to fall into the trap of being men with boobs.

Mathot’s art is well done. I really enjoyed his style, and this helped start the tale off on a good foot. It definitely had an animator feel.

Mathot starts off the tail recounting warrior women through myth and history. Women who’s led armies or gone off to fight wars. Mythical heroes who seem a bit far removed from what we know via history as patriarchal societies and histories. And I’m not really sure that Rose and Isabel needs this. I’m not sure if it conveys that Mathot hoped it would. Especially as later, I was a bit surprised that find that Rose and Isabel had some mythical qualities of their own.

The basic premise of the story is that Rose and Isabel are two sisters living with their parents and three brothers during the American Civil War. The brothers go off to fight with the Union troops, and eventually, they stop writing letters to their family. Rose and Isabel go off to find them.

Mathot does a great job at acknowledging how women just didn’t do those sorts of things then. Though there’s always something else going on. Their father, in particular, is adamant that the sisters never kill anything. That they don’t fight or otherwise hurt people. Even bullies in the flashbacks to their youth.

When Rose and Isabel come across their first Confederate troops, they take out an entire legion of men with only bows and arrows. Then Rose finds herself a gun. Which Isabel hates.

As the women continue on their mission toward finding their brothers, Rose becomes increasingly distance from her sister and more determined to help stop the war. (Of course, they also manage to steal some supplies and maps from the Union troops too.)

They discover their brothers are being taken to the infamous POW camp, Andersonville. But as they continue, Rose is shot and dead for a while. At this point, the supernatural element comes in. (Well, if you can believe that two women have taken down a lot of Confederate troops.) I really didn’t expect Rose to come back to life. Then Mathot works in more flashbacks about Rose’s powers and her father’s warnings against raising something primal inside of Rose and Isabel.

Together, they bust through Andersonville. Mathot does a decent job at expressing the horror of the camp, and the women rescue not only their brothers, but the other Union POWs.

Mathot then uses the ending to set up the next story. Rose leaves the family, but Isabel goes on to have a family of her own. I’m looking forward to picking up the other books in this series.

Get to know these warrior women yourself, buy Rose and Isabel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *