Written by, Skottie Young
Art by, Jorge Corona
Colors by, Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters by, Nate Piekos of Blambot
In the previous issue, a young boy named Abel and his companion, a fox, narrowly escaped after Abel’s father unexplainably turned into a tornado monster destroying their home. The story picks up. Abel and the fox are hitching a ride on a train where they are confronted by a pair of anthropomorphic characters resembling birds. However, they are saved by an old man named Jeb who takes them to his home. Abel tells Jeb about his recent struggles and shows Jeb the strange red marks on his stomach that get worse when he gets angry. Abel must find a cure for the red reaction. He and the fox leave Jeb’s home after learning that Jeb cannot help him.
The premise of the story is interesting. Abel is in search of a cure after losing his family. He is orphaned, alone, but hopeful, and resourceful as evidenced by him surviving his father’s attack and the night on the train. The characters are as intriguing as the premise of the story. Jeb collects, gathers, shares what he gathers with travelers in need. His benevolence is interesting because his motive is to help, which opens a larger question: From what? Jeb has connections to people who could help Abel and he knows the land, which makes Abel’s decision to leave curious and piques my interest. Finally, Jeb reveals to Abel that the red marks on his stomach represent a threat that could destroy all of Middlewest. The cryptic nature of this warning intrigues me and provides greater motivation for Abel to find a cure.
The art is whimsical and fun. The scenic landscapes are cartoonish and expansive, while intimately depicting character’s emotions. The fantastic nature of the universe Skottie Young is building comes to life in images of yellow buses in trees while antiquated silos give age and character to the visual aesthetic. The coloring isn’t as vibrant as some of Scottie’s other books; however, Beaulieu’s coloring fits the landscape and the mysterious tone of the book.
This is an adventure story and a coming of age tale for the young protagonist. The art is beautiful and supports the childlike perspective of the main character while capturing the danger he faces. Skottie Young is creating a world where magic, mystery, and fantasy are common alongside courage and valor. I can hardly wait to see how this story unfolds.