“Middlewest” Takes a Turn to the Top-Tier Level
Skottie Young’s latest writing project is now nine issues deep, and it seems as if there is so much more to this book than I initially was brought on to believe in the earlier issues. Magic was always expected to play some sort of role in this story, obviously, but the aspects that were introduced in this particular issue took this story to an entirely new level of crazy. We start out where issue eight left off, with Able and Fox surrounded by creepy forest people. It’s later revealed that these people are known as the Nowak. With Able backed into a corner, he instinctively wants to go into tornado rage mode again, but Fox reminds him that he shouldn’t be trying to bring conjure up the same storm that they are trying to figure out how to get rid of. One of the creatures recognizes his energy as “The Heart Of The Storm,” and once Able is finally given his first indication of an answer in sight, he calms down. The Nowak put him to sleep before he has an opportunity to become a threat again, and take he and Fox to their people’s home. The Nowak Elder believes that Able is not a lost cause and can possibly be cured of his curse. From here, the story takes an unexpected turn that opens up a whole new world of magical possibilities. That next step involves a wise creature called Kokoyuna, a giant god-like bear-deer hybrid. He reveals to Able that he needs to confront his past to ensure a future, and his answers lie in the Winter Woods. After Fox guides him to the edge, he must then leave Able on his own to seek his answers, and those answers seem to be coming from his grandfather. Meanwhile, while all of this is happening, we get a moment back at Magdelina’s carnival where Wrench and Bobby plan an escape to seek out and help Able after he was cast out of their community for being too unpredictably dangerous. With the help of Jeb to steal the keys to Magdelina’s Duster, Bobby is off into the woods in search of her new friend.
Skottie Young’s transition from artist to writer has been something incredible to witness. Initially I expected this story to be a tale of “daddy issues,” but as it turns out, it’s so much more than that. Every issue we get just a little more information about the actual plot of this book, while also maintaining a level of intrigue by introducing another question at the same time. Young has shown that he is so much more than a one-trick pony with quick one-liners and pop culture references. Although this story has its share of snide quips, mostly coming from Fox, it tells a tale of relationships and emotional control as well. This issue was definitely Young’s strongest of the nine so far, and he shows no sign of slowing down on this comic.
Jorge Corona and Jean Francois-Beaulieu are the perfect compliments to Young’s writing style. A caricatured type of line work with a gritty tone of color is exactly what this book entails, this issue not excluded. Corona has a style all to himself, and that style suits this story as well as anybody else out there could ever attempt to do. The colors that Francois-Beaulieu lay on top of the pencils also have an incredibly unique style that match up to this story perfectly. This is an artistic team that is sure to be in the talks as some of the great duos of all time if this book goes on for much longer.
Able and Fox accomplished much more in this issue than usual, but it advanced the story to a whole new level. With Able now without Fox as his trusty travel companion, and with an absolute direction to the answers that Able needs laid out, the next bit of story is definitely going be different from what we’ve experienced so far. The introduction to the new levels of magic and mysticism in this issue gives me confidence that this story has a lot more to say than I initially expected, and will probably have a very long and bright future on comic book shelves, but probably mostly off the shelves considering how good this book is. I love everything that this creative team is doing with this book, and what this issue introduced a curve ball that brings me a whole new level of excitement when this book is on the list for Wednesday comics.
I love everything that this creative team is doing with this book.