Rise from Ashes by Madeleine Rosca tells an evocative story that will stay with you long after the last episode. It’s a narrative about grief, loneliness, and the longing for human contact.
The living and the dead have coexisted for centuries, but Winter doesn’t know that. A ghost without a memory of her previous life, she’s been haunting the house located deep within the woods for who knows how long. An incident involving the Red Crows brings her to the city of Bearbrass where the ghosts inhabit husks to perform labor for the human citizens. As she learns more about the Red Crows – an alliance of mediums who handle the undead (also called ghosts) – and the roles that the ghosts are relegated to, she begins to gain memories of her past life. It eventually turns out that these memories largely connect to the current state of the world and the looming threat to destroy it.
Madeleine Rosca wields a well-constructed narrative packed with complex world-building and characterization. In fact, this ethereal webcomic takes me back to the days when I would devour books like Sabriel and The Golden Compass. Memorable characters like the Red Crow Wren, his father, Nox, Rook, and more populate this captivating world. In this alternate universe, humans use ghosts for labor like cleaning. The Red Crows are each partnered with a ghost which they call a bondspirit.
Rosca does an excellent job of interweaving essential information during the dialogue without overwhelming or confusing her audience. Even the artwork shows significant places and people. From the various kinds of ghosts to the history of the Red Crows, nothing is wasted here. Rosca takes her time in grounding her audience in this world. It’s probably one of the most complex worlds I’ve ever encountered, and I admire how the setting reflects the various kinds of loss and grief that the characters experience.
Rise from Ashes not only explores the loss of life, but also the loss of self. As Winter gathers the pieces of her memories, she ponders whether her past life should define herself. She’s such a complicated and dimensional character that my heart aches while following her personal journey.
For more great webcomic recommendations, check out our Wednesday Webcomics archives!
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
Read our before commenting.
Do not copy our content in whole to other websites. Linkbacks are encouraged.
Copyright © The Geekiary