Writer: Joe Henderson
Artist: Lee Garbett
After a rocky but promising start comic series Skyward, an apocalypse where gravity stops working seems to have found its footing. Despite taking one of the most interesting approaches to an apocalypse I’ve ever seen, I wasn’t particularly impressed by the first issue of Skyward by writer Joe Henderson and artist Lee Garbett. For a series about a world without gravity, one would think that representations of distance and action would be very important, but there are points in the first issue where the details of what is happening are unclear. The early death-by-floating-away of main character Willa’s mother has some strange spacing to it, even if it ultimately gets the point across. More importantly, the dialogue was somewhat stiff at points, in a way that felt just shy of something someone might actually say.
Still, the first issue had strong points. The art (aside from minor hiccups as mentioned above) and premise were so phenomenal that I kept the series on my radar to come back for more. I’m glad I did.
The second issue feels much better than the first and gives a better impression of what the series may actually be like moving forward. With all the basic setup of the first issue out of the way, the creative team was free to stretch their wings and start building the world in earnest, and the glimpse issue two provides is fascinating indeed. Issue one shows us only the heights of Chicago, while issue two takes Willa down to the streets, where the upper crust of society still attempts to hold on to some semblance of what was normal before gravity failed. The display of wealth inequity this creates does wonders for the setting in both a serious and comedic sense, as the small jokes peppered in with the very real sense of unfairness give the comic a wonderful sense of character. If I had one gripe to make it would be that the pacing could stand to draw itself out a bit more, but in this instance, it feels almost too minor to mention.
Visually speaking, Skyward continues to impress. The colors are as vibrant as the first issue and give the reader a very real sense of dynamic lighting. Additionally, the artists have a strong sense of how to convey emotion and character through framing, and one splash page early in the issue is powerfully evocative of the sort of world Earth has become.
Skyward is a delight to look at and has an interesting cast who interact in fun ways with the world they’ve been thrown into. If you’re tired of the typical apocalypse premises but can’t get enough of end-of-the-world scenarios, this one’s definitely worth checking out.
Skyward is developing well, I look forward to seeing where it goes next, and you should be too.