Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Review - Skyward #1 (@ImageComics)


"It's happening. No one believed me but...I was right."

Gravity is one of those fundamental knowns in the world. What goes up, must come down. Everything we know about how to live is largely based around the concept that you can't get into the air without the help of something else. That all changes in Skyward #1 from Image Comics. The issue is written by Joe Henderson, illustrated by Lee Garbett, colored by Antonio Fabela and lettered by Simon Bowland.

One day, gravity on earth suddenly became a fraction of what it is now. Twenty years later, humanity has adapted to its new low-gravity reality. And to Willa Fowler, a woman born just after G-day, it’s…well, it’s pretty awesome, actually. You can fly through the air! I mean, sure, you can also die if you jump too high. So you just don’t jump too high. And maybe don’t stumble into a dangerous plan to bring gravity back that could get you killed…

The concept that Earth would suddenly lose its gravitational force certainly isn't new, but Henderson has freshened it up by building an entire world around it. The first issue of the series sets the stage for that world, as Henderson briefly shows life before the lack of gravity and then jumps right into a world where couriers are tasked with making deliveries without the use of gravity. Henderson's script is better served because of this pacing, in that he doesn't let the issue get bogged down by details about why the gravity left. It's clear from the end of the issue that Henderson will get into the why as the series unfolds, but for now he focuses the narrative through the eyes of Willa. Willa was a newborn when gravity disappeared and it's fun to see how Henderson shows her interacting with the world when faced with remnants of the way things used to be.

Garbett's artwork in the issue is very aerodynamic in that the characters are illustrated with lithe, muscular physiques. Lilly in particular looks a little stretched out and thin, perhaps enforcing the notion that a world without gravity affects the human body in different ways. And the way Garbett positions the characters in and out of panels plays well into a world without gravity where people essentially float to and fro with little control over their movement. The gutters move between being empty and filled with the backdrop of the page with Garbett defining each panel by bold, thick panel lines. Fabela's colors are subtle and allow for great contrast between the characters themselves and the sky they're parading through.

Skyward #1 is a very slick and entertaining first issue. Willa is a likable enough protagonist trying to make sense of the world around her differently because of the lack of a major piece of science in gravity. Henderson's script is fast-paced and too the point, leaving just enough room to pose broader questions as the series unfolds. Garbett's artwork is a great fit tonally for the story and it handles the lack of gravity exceptionally well. Skyward #1 is a strong first issue that has nowhere to go but up (sorry not sorry for the pun).

Skyward #1 is available now.

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