The first word that springs to mind on reading Skyward’s first issue is Biblical. You might think that this is because the book has characters called Herod and runs with the title “The Genesis of the Exodus”, but that really has nothing to do with it. The reason Skyward makes me think of the word Biblical is because it’s first reading conjures up ideas of the mythic. Now before any arguments start over the authenticity of the worlds biggest best-seller I just want to make clear that my use of the word mythic is based on the sense that the book invokes. Also, like the Bible, Skyward has a great opening chapter.
Skyward begins with a very tight focus on the series young protagonist Quinn who lives an idyllic existence with his mother and father out in the woods far away from anywhere, and more importantly for his father Corin – the retired soldier, anyone. Quinn’s days are spent learning to fish and playing with his dog Jack, but there is a world beyond the shore of the lake and the trees of the forest & it is not too long before that world comes looking for Corin and Quinn finds himself thrust into an adventure with only Jack for company…
On first glance it’s Skyward’s art that will be the big draw for anyone looking at this book. Jeremy Dale’s art is beautifully rendered and while it may seem very atypical of 90′s super hero comics at times, with Corin in particular having muscles in places where most people don’t even have places, it suits the story perfectly. Even if this sort of artwork isn’t necessarily your “thing” the heroic presentation of Quinn’s father helps cement the telling of this story through the eyes of its young protagonist and makes the events of this opening issue all the more poignant. It is worth noting however that Quinn’s mother is presented in a far more realistic fashion. Yes she is still pretty but the hips lips and boobs (& feet) are all in proportion. It isn’t just with the characters that Dale makes interesting use of perspective though. Everything around Quinn feels larger than life in the way it only can to a young child. This, combined with Dales simple but effective panel work, help the significant moments, such as a confrontation with a wild beast or the introduction of the story’s antagonist, really hit home.
Not to be outdone in the art stakes however Dale’s story for Skyward is easily as good as his art. While this opening issue may seem a little dark for an all ages book at first it tells its story simply & quickly without having to compromise on impact or feeling like it’s being unnecessarily bloodthirsty just to pull in an audience. The characters in Skyward are fleshed out enough to make us feel sad when they are hurt but enough is held back so that we are curious enough to want to learn more about them and carry on reading beyond the words “to be continued” on the final page. While I think this book would appeal to the average 10 or 11 year old boy if you happen to be their parent don’t be surprised if you end up buying two copies of Skyward to save arguments later on. Failing that if you’ve been looking for the perfect excuse to try and get that kid of yours to follow in your comic book collecting footsteps then Skyward is a great place to start.
In conclusion while Skyward has a long way to go before it sells as many copies as The Bible the fact that the first two issues have sold out at distributor level, and that it has become Action Lab’s first ongoing series, show that this is a book that’s definitely worth getting on at the ground floor for. Skyward is a great book with wonderful art and powerful storytelling that’s quite possibly a legend in the making.
Skyward is still available digitally I know this because I picked up issue 2 via that method last night & it’s just as good as issue 1 so hopefully the reprints of both issues wont be too far behind.