Skyward #8 Channels Classic X-Men In A Romantic Interlude

by Richard Bruton

After 8 issues, Skyward is still motoring along, feeling fresh and interesting all over again, after switching things up in this second story-arc, “Here There Be Dragonflies”.

This issue: more bugs, the answer to the meat problem, more Roger Barrow, and a decidedly X-Men Kitty/Colossus style danger room sort of thing going on. Which means it’s time to add a classic X-Men vibe to the existing Walking Dead/ Peter Pan thing going on. But, please don’t think that’s a criticism, it’s still high on the list of first books to read in the week’s pile.

Now, the thing that immediately sold me on Skyward was the concept. But, the concept can only carry something so far, even when it’s such a great concept as Skyward. Eight issues in, we’re now perfectly at home with the ideas that the Earth had it’s gravity all but switched off a couple of decades back. So, now it’s all about where the adventure is going to take us, how good the characters are, and just how far into the future things are planned out. Thankfully, with Skyward, things all seem to be in good hands, with the adventure rolling along so well and the characters, particularly that of lead, Willa, all developing pretty well.

This issue finds us out in the wilds, after Willa and Edison made their escape from the series’ big bad, industrialist type Roger Barrow. They were headed for Kansas City, where Willa’s dad was convinced the answer to the low-G problem was going to be found. But, thanks to Barrow’s interference they find themselves marooned down on the farm, a Barrow Agricultural farm at that, where they get a lesson in just what they’ve been eating all these years in the city.

Because, after all, if the livestock became an all you can eat buffet for the giant bugs all those years ago, what the hell do you think they were sending to the cities for the years following?

It’s something of an intermission episode, a small break from the action, as Willa and Edison find their way around the farm. With Willa joining Lucas in the training room for a little bug-swatting action. Which is where the immediate reference to the whole Kitty and Colossus thing comes into my memory. It was the great romance in X-Men as I was growing up, and I can’t help but see a little of that in this version of the danger room, with Willa and Lucas obviously attracted to each other. We saw it straight away last issue, as Willa clapped eyes on the impossibly hunky, dragonfly riding, sword-swinging farmer turned bug-hunting vigilante, Lucas. Phew…

Once the romantic interlude is over, it’s straight back into the meat of the storyline, which, to be honest, is part of the only problem I have with Skyward, and has been ever since they introduced Roger Barrow as the big bad. It seems that he overwhelms everything, ever-present, always there, always involved. It all seems to be focused on him, issue after issue, a little like The Walking Dead, TV show at least, seems to just be obsessing over Negan every time. There’s so much of interest here, both in the exploration of the world and the development of a character as wonderful as Willa, that having things constantly be brought back to Barrow’s relentless chase just seems to be pushing things too far, too fast. It would be good to explore the world awhile before being thrown into the, seemingly, inevitable confrontation.

Thing is, despite that one little niggle, Skyward continues, issue after issue, to be a great series, full of invention, full of good, old-fashioned action, all with a great, conceptual twist. Definitely a great series you should be keeping up with.

Skyward Issue 8, published by Image Comics, written by Joe Henderson, art by Lee Garbett, colors by Antonio Fabela, letters by Simon Bowland.

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