Skottie Young writer
Jorge Corona, art
Jean-Francois Beaulieu, colors
Nate Peikos of Blambot, letters
In the previous issue, the main character young Abel and his best friend Bobby are captured and are working on a farm gathering a flammable fuel called ethol from insect creatures called cinder grubs. The story described how a child named Abel learned to work hard from his father and how he might use that skill in fighting against the cruel leader of the ethol farm, Nicholas Raider. This issue picks up, Abel and his cohorts witness an adult supervisor, John, trapped and nearly burned to death. However, Abel acts heroically saving John from harm. Later in the day, Nicholas Raider calls Abel to his office. He asks Abel if he has a monster like the one heading towards them? Which is a reference to Abel’s capacity to turn into a monster when he gets angry. Then, Nicholas gives him a promotion for saving John’s life.
This book continues to be gorgeously drawn and colored. I never get tired of the early 1900’s farm vibe and cartoonish art. The faces are large, expressive, and emotion-filled, which adds to the dramatic tension and the felt urgency in the story. The whimsical feeling of the art balances the drama present in the story.
This issue dives into several of the children’s back stories of abuse and abandonment. As it turns out, Abel isn’t the only one with early childhood traumas. However, what’s stuck on Abel’s mind, and what is different, is his desire to “break the chain” as he calls it. Abel sees how his grandfather’s monster was passed on to his father. Abel sees the monster in himself and doesn’t want to be like his father. Part of the draw of this story for me is these emotional beads. What makes it more interesting is Nicholas Raider’s manipulation of Abel’s weakness.
This book reinforces how important it is for children to have supportive families and connections.Isolation creates a separation that abusive people exploit in the manipulation of others. It is important to stay connected and involved with those in our circle of family and friends to help pull them out of the weeds, if needed. Overall 9/10