Legacy of… Rose & Thorn…?

Legacy of Superman #1 (Rose & Thorn)
“Sister Act”
Writer – Roger Stern
Pencils – Denis Rodier
Inks – Ande Parks
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Colors – Glenn Whitmore
Assistant Editor – Jennifer Frank
Editor – Mike Carlin

Here’s a little confession I gotta make.  I have never… ever… read a Rose & Thorn story before.  At least not one I can remember!  In reading this little ditty, I kinda get the “broader concept” of the character/s… but, not to put the cart before the horse, I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to track down more of her/their adventures.

Let’s do it!

We open with a woman out jogging.  We will soon learn that this woman is Rose Forrest, so I won’t pretend not to know that.  She’s listening to her little AM/FM receiver… and the news is full’a some pretty bad stories.  Ya see, ever since Superman died, it’s been sort of an “open season” on Metropolis… there’ve been robberies, assaults… you name it!  Our lady returns to her home, only to find that it’s currently being robbed!  A Scuzz is in there ransacking the place… and winds up stealing her VCR!  Wow, our man’s aimin’ high, there!  I think even back in ye old 1993, a VCR might run a hundred bucks.  Well, I guess any ol’ port in a storm, right?

We jump ahead… probably an hour or two, and Ms. Forrest is having her locks fixed… and is having security bars placed on her windows.  This is sure a grim new look for Metropolis, innit?  If I’m being honest, it looks kinda like… a lot of parts of South Phoenix!

That night, Rose is in bed watching the news.  She just can’t help herself, it seems.  The news is… still, all bad.  Suddenly, there’s a voice in her head… begging to let it “take over”.  In a trance-like state, Rose gets out of bed, and wanders down to her basement…

… where she changes into the “working clothes” of… The Thorn!

We shift scenes into a dark and seedy alley, where a pair of nogoodniks are bragging about their latest hauls.  One happens to mention that he knows where allllllll the best Fences are, which prompts Thorn to emerge from a storm drain, and pounce!  She demands to know about this great Fence… and the fella has no choice but to comply.

Turns out this Fence is run by a big fella called The Cherokee… who the Thorn is, evidently, familiar with.  The clash outside some building… with the Cherokee looking, I dunno… I don’t think “sense of urgency” quite fits it.  More like, just resigned and annoyed to see Thorn.  It’s as though he’s sighing when he draws his gun.  Thorn beats him up pretty good.

Moments later, the VCR thief just happens to arrive.  He’s overjoyed that he’ll probably be handed a crisp five-dollar bill for his troubles.  Daaaaaaaang, fool… this VCR’s got onscreen programming an erryt’ing!  Ya know, if a VCR was the most valuable thing Rose Forrest had in her house… why did she bother with the fancy new locks and bars?  I mean, right now, those locks and bars are the most valuable things she owns!

Anyhoo, the T’eef is led into the Cherokee’s office… only to find… Thorn!  And hoo-boy, is she ticked!

She proceeds to beat the everlovin’ dog out of the kid… and, pretty much everybody there.  The Police arrive on the scene, in response to an “anonymous tip”, and make all of the necessary arrests.

The following morning, Rose Forrest is awakened by a phone call.  It’s the Police, and they’re happy to report that the thief was caught… and her cherished VCR has been retrieved.  She’s ever-so thankful, but the Police tell her to save her thanks for… the Thorn!  Rose remembers that the mysterious Thorn was responsible for capturing her father’s killer back in the long ago… but, doesn’t know much more about her.  Hmm…

We wrap up with Rose discovering a note on her bedside lampshade.  It’s from, duh, Thorn… and it informs her that the strong will always protect the meek.  The story closes with the 1st Issue Special special… asking fans to write in if they want to see more from the “Woman Who is Really Two”!  I don’t think they received any sort of overwhelming response.

While this wasn’t necessarily my “cup of tea”, I feel like it was an important story to be told here, as it depicts just what an impact the loss of Superman has had on the City of Metropolis as a whole.  Part of the “Legacy” piece is having an understanding of just how much was lost with his passing.  Safety and security in the law-abiding citizens… and fear in those who would love nothing more than to do them harm.  It’s pretty powerful in that regard.

Having Ms. Rose Forrest get robbed… and have to decide what kind of security she’s going to require going forward was especially powerful.  I mean, even when Superman was around… he couldn’t stop every burglary from occurring, but the overall feeling in Metropolis (well, much of Metropolis) was that its people were protected.  Without that protection, Rose had to resort to putting bars on her own windows… the symbolism there is pretty striking.  It’s as though she’s become a literal prisoner of her circumstance.

I know I joked about the VCR being taken… but, that’s just me making light of the situation.  At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how valuable or un-valuable something might be… if it’s taken from you… stolen from you… there’s a feeling of violation there, that you really can’t put a price-tag on!  What price do you put on getting a good night’s sleep, ya know?  What price do you put on being unafraid in your own home?  It’s more than a lousy VCR that’s been “taken” here… it’s Rose’s piece of mind.

Sure, the “action” bits here were what they were… but, really, they were (to me) just “scenery”.  This isn’t really a story about beating up bad guys… it’s about the tremendous hole left in Metropolis due to Superman’s passing… and in that regard, I’d call it a success!

Rose & Thorn… ehhh, I could take ’em or leave ’em, to be honest… but, she/they were as good a fit here as anyone!  I appreciate the whole gimmick of her not knowing she’s really both characters… though, I don’t feel like that has all that long a “shelf life” in an ongoing series, ya know what I mean?  Eventually, she’s going to have to find out… there’s only so many ways you can creatively sidestep the obvious.

I definitely recommend checking this story out… if only to get a new perspective on Metropolis.

Tomorrow: Punchy, punch, punch

0 thoughts on “Legacy of… Rose & Thorn…?

  • Grant Kitchen

    They've/she's recently appeared in Action Comics. Can't say I've cared for that whole Leviathon story though.

    • OH boy… I have NOT made it all that far in Bendis' run. I think I made it six issues in before having to tap out. I found it just a little *too* Bendisy to enjoy

    • Grant Kitchen

      At this point I'm only reading to see the Kents again because it has been implied that Martha might be alive like the fact that Superman mentioned her in the present tense a year or so ago and in Justice League around that time Clark and Jon were launching a rocket to commemorate the anniversary of Pa's death (but not ma's apparently?). But Doomsday Clock brought both of them back and frankly I'm confused af about what is in continuity and what isn't because for the past couple years we've been getting references to events from pre-Flashpoint continuity but Doomsday Clock hasn't happened yet apparently and certain characters shouldn't be alive if those aforementioned pre-Flashpoint events are currently in continuity. Sorry. Another tangential rant.

    • Yeah, I don't think DC hasn't the foggiest idea what they're doing insofar as continuity is concerned. Somehow, they seem to feel like adding MORE "eras" will somehow streamline everything. So dumb… but, not surprising coming from the dunderheads running the show.

      Don't know where/if/how DOOMSDAY CLOCK fits into anything… such a disaster hinging the ENTIRE DC UNIVERSE going forward on a book that the creative team couldn't be bothered to get onto shelves in a timely fashion. Not sure which way is up anymore…

  • Grant Kitchen

    Oh and I was going to save this comment for when you reviewed the story written by Dan Jurgens but there was another sort of Bonus Book in 1996. It was a Teen Titans preview which appeared in Superman vol. 2 #116. You should snatch it up if you find it for cheap.

    • A-ha! I DO have that! Forgot allllll about it! I think you just picked our Anniversary-Eve piece!

    • Grant Kitchen

      Oh good I was going to add if you find it make sure it's the direct edition because for whatever reason the newsstand edition does not include the preview. But you have it so moot point I guess. And the one thing about Bendis's run is the story never seems to go anywhere they go off into so many subplots and drag things out but the same can be said for most of DC's stuff lately.

    • That's the big Bendis problem… DC (and Marvel before them) hand him the keys to the kingdom, when he doesn't actually tell stories that GO anywhere. It's all sass, snark, and sarcasm masquerading as "characterization"… and superheroes standing in darkened rooms full of monitors masquerading as "espionage" and "suspense". Absolute page-wasters.

      Though, in this instance, with as disgustingly delayed as DOOMSDAY CLOCK has been, for all I know Bendis has been ask to "tread water"…

  • Grant Kitchen

    Oh and the digital copy of Superman 116 doesn't include the Teen Titans preview either.

    • Now *that's* weird! I wonder if it's been reprinted anywhere?

    • Grant Kitchen

      Well it's essentially just select pages from the first 3 issues of the series so in a way…

  • trbarnes76

    She (Rose and Thorn) has also been featured in the new Legion of Superheroes reboot and the stories leading up to it. They have retconned her with some sort of immortality/helping factor along with the personality disorder.

    • That's what I've been hearing! I still haven't made it all the way through the Bendis run… found myself stalling out pretty early on. Hopefully one of these days I'll get enough of a "running start" to plow through!


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