Review: Supreme Blue Rose #7

“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.” - Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe Supreme Blue Rose is a meaningless story. It is, to rip off a phrase from Seinfeld, a book about “nothing” - it shouldn’t even really exist, by nature; not unlike a blue rose. But just because something is immaterial or unnatural doesn’t mean it lacks value or beauty. After all, it’s been said that some of the best stories ever written are the ones that got erased.

And that’s exactly what this is: a binned blueprint, the (intentional) failed “Plan A” that led to “Plan B,” the long-forgotten skull of a would-be hero, crushed by the heel of another on the way to victory. In short, Supreme Blue Rose isn’t the birth of something. It’s the abortion. And issue seven is a long goodbye to its never-was.

In this, the final issue of the latest book to tackle the Supreme mythos, Ellis’ version of its actors finally converge in the limbo-between-stories they’ve been trapped within, and, whether they like it or not, are set free, thanks to the machinations of the nefarious Darius Dax. And a ray gun, obviously.

It’s no secret that Ellis and Lotay have been telling a story about the comic book reboot in Supreme Blue Rose; an ongoing theme within the many incarnations of Supreme, almost to the point that the character and title stand as a clinic on the retcon. It’s been a surreal journey; the kind of meta-narrative mystery I eat right up, and while it goes out with a (literal) bang, it does so with what I would also call a significant whimper.

There are a few elements of Supreme Blue Rose #7 that came off a little weak as a resolution, however. The Professor Night angle, for example, left me a bit cold. It’s always been a nice aside in its story-within-a-story conceit, but its final march from the periphery into the main event here fell flat. Although that death scene - both in the way Ellis takes an understated yet powerful stance and how Lotay leaves a wet puddle of bled-out emotion - is nothing short of electric. Still, as part of the whole, this felt hurried in the context of story, whereas all of its other pieces were more purposefully balanced.

Supreme---Blue-Rose-#7Speaking of the visual side, my one point of contention here lies not necessarily with the quality throughout the book (which remains as exceptional as it is unique), but in the choice of using twisty staircases that drop like a Monty Python foot. I get that the characters are being rescued from story-land purgatory via an ascension, but stairs slamming down, or the players being transformed into them (it was a little unclear), strikes me as a loaded, but ultimately feeble and (dare I say) cartoonish device.

The power of this issue, however, lies in the contrast between its last page, and everything else throughout the series that led up to it. Don’t get me wrong, Ellis’ writing is as strong as ever, but after re-reading the entirety of the miniseries in getting ready for this bookend, his narrative has been somewhat repetitive; drumming into the audience the idea that this is not real, this is a comic book. Of course, that is the point that I love so much, and in a story this ethereal, it’s a reminder that admittedly bears repeating. But Tula Lotay sums it up beautifully in one page.

Unlike elsewhere, in which we see proceedings through a distorted laminate of scratches, squiggles and tracking lines, the final page represents the story fully-formed. We don’t get any more embryonic overlay of wavering lines, just clean, beautiful, piercingly colorful and completed art, with just a few ripples still quivering to remind us how we got here; like old mug stains on a varnished table. The end is the beginning and vice versa, ad infinitum, etcetera, etc.

Supreme Blue Rose has been one hell of a ride through semi-formed ideas and the actual process of story building. While the pacing made this finale feel slightly choked at the bottleneck of unused ideas (purposefully, it could perhaps be argued), as a whole, this incredibly gorgeous and thought-provoking miniseries has successfully bolstered the fascinating study that the Supreme conceptual legacy has become.

Score: 3/5

Supreme Blue Rose #7 Writer: Warren Ellis Artist: Tula Lotay Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 3/4/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital