Mark Dawson’s Beatrix Rose: Vigilante #1 is published by ComiXology Originals, written by Stephanie Phillips, art by Valeria Favoccia, colors by Ellie Wright and Sheelagh D, with letters by Saida Temofonte. Beatrix Rose once worked as an agent of the British government. She would take on dangerous missions, removing threats to her country. Until one day, a family crisis changed the course of her life. Now, She employs her skills at the behest of a new set of masters, the Hong Kong Triads. Killing the men who get in her bosses’ way, she is about to be given her latest assignment. She needs to kill an assassin known only as The Demon.
First impressions are important. This is as true in narrative fiction as it is in real life. You only get one chance to present a new character to a reader. If you fail to nail the presentation the first time, you have to change the reader’s mind about what they see the character as. Changing minds is a far harder trick to pull off. While Mark Dawson’s Beatrix Rose: Vigilante #1 attempts to sell readers that its titular character is an amoral badass who kills for money, it only succeeds in part. It manages to project a certain level of threat on Rose, but it falls short of delivering the full-on Baba Yaga level of threat that it feels like the book wants you to believe she is.
This shortcoming is due mostly to a lack of commitment to the establishment of the atmosphere. While the book opens with Rose wrapping up a job as one might expect, the moment is far too rushed and never allows the character’s abilities to establish her as truly dangerous. Rather, we get a hastily done scene where a suit is quaking in terror, and a couple of guards are killed off-camera. Killing a pair of red shirts doesn’t make you a terror; it just means you know how to turn the safety off on your gun. After this opening, Mark Dawson’s Beatrix Rose: Vigilante #1 introduces us to Rose’s handler. Her back and forth with the man delivers a strong feeling of camaraderie and establishes that Rose is more than just a walking gun. This is also where she gets her next assignment. Now, she hunts The Demon.
The art throughout this story does an acceptable job of delivering its narrative. From character expression to the action sequences, the art never fails to clearly present the events of the tale, but I just wish it could’ve imparted a bit more energy into them. As it is, the art keeps the reader at too far a distance from what is happening and never fully delivers the impact of the action sequences. It plays it too safe to truly stand out.
The coloring in Mark Dawson’s Beatrix Rose: Vigilante #1 does a solid job of lending some vibrancy to the art. Strong uses of red in the usual spots give the action moments a bit more impact, and there is some great sunset coloring used to make one scene’s backgrounds pop. Wrapping up the story’s presentation, we have the lettering. Much like the story itself, the lettering does a good job of delivering the story clearly to the reader, though it fails to shine in any way beyond that.
When all is said and done, Mark Dawson’s Beatrix Rose: Vigilante #1 delivers a perfectly fine opening chapter to an action story. While it never truly fails, it never truly shines either. If you are looking for a new action series, this could be worth looking into, but I can’t help but think there are better offerings on the market.
Mark Dawson’s Beatrix Rose: Vigilante #1 is available now.
Mark Dawson's Beatrix Rose: Vigilante #1
When all is said and done, Mark Dawson’s Beatrix Rose: Vigilante #1 delivers a perfectly fine opening chapter to an action story. While it never truly fails, it never truly shines either. If you are looking for a new action series, this could be worth looking into.