This is exactly the kind of comic I feel like we need more of. It’s pretty kid friendly and appealing, with strong young protagonists, good solid friendships, and I suspect, eventually, some nice messages. I’m not sure how engaging it is for an adult audience on the whole at this point, but not every comic should be for every person, or we’d have tepid stories indeed. Variety, she’s the spice of life, kids!
So there’s a lot to like about this new mini-series, most notably the enthusiastic feeling throughout, some nice character work, and some solid writing from G. Willow Wilson. There are some unfortunate plotting cliches that Wilson has to rely on, in part I suspect because this is only a four-issue mini-series and she has to cover a lot of ground quickly in order to tell the epic tale that feels like it’s coming down the pike. So a bit out of necessity we have: best friend orphans; a mean old orphanage owner; some mean pets to keep the orphans in line (in this case robot dogs, which are actually pretty cool); and perhaps most disappointingly two best friends – one who wants more than anything to become an apprentice for the “noble arts” and one that doesn’t care so much but will clearly be the “chosen one.” It’s a twist you can see coming a mile away, which is unfortunate. However, I suspect the real meat of Wilson’s tale will reveal itself later, as we see the girls’ friendship break apart and possibly re-build again.
David Lopez’s art is lovely. He sets the stage immediately for this world with a gorgeous sweeping splash page of the city of Hyperion. But it’s his character work with both expression and body language that even overshadows the world building with its excellence. Lopez also seems to have a particular amount of fun in creating characters — not just the two leads, but also a series of characters that may only appear once. His attention to detail – from the epic sweep of the city to the close up expressions of characters under pressure – is a real treat.
The inking is not a style I’m particularly fond of, with color drop line work instead of black line work, which gives the otherwise beautiful drawings an overly pale look. Additionally, the colored line work is extremely subtle which gives the figures an ethereal and almost insubstantial feeling. The colors by Nathan Fairbairn are beautiful and a great tonal fit for the youthful energy of the book.
I think for a younger audience, especially young girls, this is an ideal book. It’s fun and beautiful, well-considered and energetic. It’s the kind of book we need more of, quite frankly. It’s not a perfect comic book for me specifically, but good comics are good comics, and this is a good comic.