Review - Skyward #1

Remember the old-school JRPGs? Lufia and the Fortress of Doom? Breath of Fire? Those games that featured wide-eyed youths tasked with saving the world? They had a great feel to them that modern RPGs have lost. Fortunately, a new book called Skyward #1 from Action Lab Comics is stepping in to fill that void.

The issue is written and illustrated by Jeremy Dale, colored by Steve Downer and lettered by Thom Zahler.

Corin is a "retired" warrior, living an idyllic life with his wife Taryn, son Quinn and dog Jack. They're the perfect nuclear family for a less civilized time, making their way in the forest amidst all manner of natural creatures and plants. Their happy lives are interrupted by an old friend of Corin named Herod. Herod feels that Corin is wasting his talents as a warrior playing the role of father and homemaker, a fact that leads Quinn to end up on the run.

Dale's story is very well-paced and presents a solid foundation for an interesting series. Most of the old-school JRPGs started in a similar fashion, with a child (destined, fated, circumstances) taking to the road towards a destination. That's what really makes Skyward #1 work very well; it recognizes that Quinn's quest will be fun to follow and goes with it. Herod is set up to be the perfect bad guy and there's even a hint of fantasy with his two goblin henchmen.

Dale pulls double duty on the art as well and it works great with the story. Again, the characters and setting are very reminiscent of the look of the aforementioned JRPGs. There's a fantastical feel to the characters, with both Corin and Herod mountains of men, Taryn a doting housewife and Quinn a rambunctious youth. Panel layouts are fairly standard, with a few pages pretty crammed with rectangles. There is a great panel towards the end that amplifies the action depicted in the surrounding environment, which was a very cool effect.

There's a lot to like about Skyward #1. As a child main character, Quinn is presented with just enough naivety and curiosity that things won't be easy for him. Surely, he'll tap into something from his father considering his past occupation as a military man. Herod's exact motivations for his actions are still a little unclear, but it's expected that they'll reveal themselves as the series proceeds.

Skyward #1 is in Previews now and should be in stores soon.