Review - Little Bird #1 (@ImageComics)

"This doesn't end here. Not like this."

America's youth as a country is often forgotten when discussing world superpowers, primarily because America has become so powerful so fast. That doesn't make the fact that it could become oppressive any better though and in Little Bird #1 from Image Comics that scenario is explored deeply. The issue is written by Darcy Van Poelgeest and illustrated by Ian Bertram.

Follow a young resistance fighter who battles against an oppressive American Empire and searches for her own identity in a world on fire.

Poelgeest certainly doesn't pull any punches in the issue, delving directly into a world where America is an oppressive empire and the world is suffering as a result. The bulk of the issue is told through the perspective of Little Bird--the daughter of a very pronounced resistance fighter who's diving into battle--as she seeks to find assistance in her struggle. Poelgeest also works in some world-building as well, highlighting a power buttressed by a blind faith in religion that seems to be the cause behind America's tightfisted regime. There's certainly a grittiness and savagery to this world, but Poelgeest doesn't make that the primary focus of the story; rather, there's more of a focus on how that world has shaped its inhabitants. The narrative certainly doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of oppression as Poelgeest takes things to the extremes on both sides of the conflict.

There's a certain level of discomfort with Bertram's linework that gives the book this sense of ambiguity. Bertram's approach is very organic and relies on a style that feels completely amorphous--very similar to that of Shaky Kane's work to be honest. This style is the perfect fit for the book in that it effectively encapsulates the sheer madness of the world created for the purpose of the book. And there's plenty of violence and grotesque imagery on display, but Bertram doesn't let the larger message get lost in gore and blood. Seeing the American side of things is unsettling in another way as Bertram illustrates the religious support with a nod to something visceral (literally) that just makes the reader feel discomfort matching the figurative message.

Little Bird #1 is jam-packed with narrative and intrigue making it a very robust first issue. Little Bird's quest to find a savior for the resistance is met with, well, resistance, but that won't stop her from trying what she can. Poelgeest's script is very well-thought out and presented, laying the groundwork for a fascinating playground that the characters can inhabit. Bertram's artwork is the right amount of off-putting considering the content of the book. Little Bird #1 is a strong first issue that's very well-executed and looks to keep the pressure up as it unfolds.

Little Bird #1 is available March 13.