Review: SKYWARD #2

Written by Joe Henderson 
Art by Lee Garbett, Antonio Fabela, and Simon Bowland 
Edited by Rick Lopez Jr. 
Published by Image Comics 
Release Date: May 24, 2018 

What happens in a world where gravity has lost its limitations? Does the world embrace it’s new found freedom or does everything just float away like a forgotten memory? Skyward #2 continues to explore these questions as we get to know it’s characters better and start to discover the secrets that each of them hold. The creative team has really embraced this world and taken it past its skyward limits to give the reader something exciting.

Joe Henderson has made a natural and talented leap from moving pictures to comics. If you are going to move to comics from writing another format then episodic TV script writing is probably the best place to come from. Leading into commercials is like comic book page turns and hooking readers to anticipate the next issue is the same as waiting for the next episode. Pacing is one of the things that stands out the most in Skyward because it is so well done. It’s like watching a great episode of TV but still getting to let your imagination bring parts of it to life. A perfect example of this is the opening moments that grab the reader’s attention immediately as it expands on the ideas put forth in the first issue. Henderson, in this issue, has piqued the reader’s interest by taking characters introduced previously and beginning to reveal layers of history and flaws. Mystery and dangers begin to pop up as these layers appear in the story. Skyward has a lot going for it and issue #2 is a natural progression in a well-written story. The reader will come across some basic storytelling tropes that endanger the plot in this issue, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on how they are handled as the story progresses. It’s truly hard to write an “original” story but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it interesting and Henderson appears to be talented enough to do so. Complex characters, like the free-spirited Willa, and their back stories are absolutely attractive to the reader and with the overall hook of the story will continue to bring readers back for more.

The visuals for Skyward are so very eye-catching. With a world that has very little gravity it really gives the artists freedom to illustrate some cool scenes. Lee Garbett has definitely taken this fluid world and ran with it. The opening scene is an excellent example of Garbett taking the opportunity to build up to and then impact the reader with an eye-popping moment. His work really shines when he is drawing the floating scenes. He makes excellent use of panel design and subject matter placement within the panels to connotate the feeling of a free-floating environment. Garbett does a good job at portraying character emotions not only with their faces, and most notably their eyes, but with their bodies. Their bodies communicate to the reader perfectly as to what is going on with their thoughts and emotions. One of the fun things the reader should notice about the art are the characters’ hair. In a low g environment, it is only natural that hair would really have a mind of its own and Garbett has translated this very naturally. Willa’s hair especially is so much fun to watch change from panel to panel.

The color work by Antonio Fabela is excellent. The pages are full of rich colors and beautiful lighting. Fabela uses a lot of warm colors to inject life into Garbett’s characters. Willa, especially, benefits from this giving her animated personality even more vibrancy. The colored pages really draw the eye into the story. The heavy saturation of the hues used support that feeling that this is a world full of flowing movement that is free from the bonds of gravity. It really is beautiful work and takes the art on a whole up a couple of notches. Lettering for Skyward #2 is taken care of by Simon Bowland and is clean, crisp, and expressive.

Overall Skyward #2 takes the next logical step in its storytelling path and does so very well. Great writing and eye-catching art combine for a fun ride into the future. Depending on how some common tropes are handled over the next few issues will either limit or unbound the series potential.

The Verdict: 8.0/10.0 

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