For as long as there have been societies, there have also been secret societies. From the Illuminati to the Knights Templar, secret groups have permeated fiction of all kinds and are (paradoxically) as popular as ever. This week, a new secret entity makes its debut into Pipedream’s comic world as we check out The Rose Society. Can Klinker, Hampton and Greenhalgh pull the strings of success, or will this title remain in the shadows of obscurity?
Publisher: Self Published
Writer: Eddie Klinker
Artist: Daimon Hampton (artist), Jimmy Greenhalgh (Colors and Letters)
Price: Via Kickstarter (Sign up for The Rose Society newsletter and get info about their next campaign)
The Rose Society tells the story of Adam, a regular guy with a regular life, a part of which has crumbled with the revelation that his best friend, Marcus, has died. Despite mutually drifting apart in the last couple of years, the loss of Marcus hits Adam hard, (especially with only a couple of people attending his wake), leading Adam to return to a dangerous habit he’d long thought to have kicked. However, upon the discovery of Marcus’ mother’s death, followed by an unprompted attack from his drug dealer, Adam’s world gets another shock when he is rescued by Marcus. Still alive and well, Marcus decides to protect his friend from his mistakes as he attempts to elude the mysterious Rose Society.
Eddie Klinker has created a fun, engaging and deeply engrossing story with the Rose Society. While the plot plays out as a conspiracy theory thriller, similar in the vein of Andy Diggle and Jock’s Snapshot story, Klinker adds more emotional depth to this tale as he layers the story with a tale about friendship. This friendship (between lead characters Adam and Marcus) is well set up and their history is nicely laid out in the opening funeral scene which serves as an effective exposition dump. Also, Klinker produces a believable lead in Adam as his emotional turmoil comes across as very realistic. Otherwise, the plot moves at a nice pace and although the issue isn’t perfect (a mid-issue appearance could have been hidden for a greater reveal later), it leaves a lot of intrigue as to what is to come next.
Meanwhile, Daimon Hampton and Jimmy Greenhalgh turn in a solid turn on the artistic and colouring duties respectfully with an impressive, if unconventional, art style that looks like Sin City but full coloured. The pencils remain consistent throughout, imbuing a Kenneth Rocafort vibe from beginning to end. As for the colours, the early choices combined with Hampton’s art gives the pages a very dream-like sequence, as though Adam doesn’t believe the events are real (which could be seen as a realistic response to death). However, once the issue reaches the mid-way point, Greenhalgh palette darkens considerably, as if hinting at the danger about to come. Finally, there are the flashback scenes, the golden hue of which emphasise the good ol’ days vibe they are hinting at.
The first issue of the Rose Society is truly great opening instalment to what feels like an enjoyable and captivating series. Klinker, Hampton and Greenhalgh have produced an intriguing, emotionally resonant story with some beautiful artwork to tell it with. If the rest of this series continues as well as it has begun, the Rose Society could be a story very much worthy of checking out.