The lands between the coasts are vast, slow to change, and full of hidden magics. Mistakes have been made, and in this new ongoing series, an unwitting adventurer searches for answers to quell a coming storm that knows his name. From author Skottie Young (I Hate Fairyland, Deadpool) and artist Jorge Corona (No. 1 With A Bullet, Feathers, Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack) comes the tale of Abel, a young boy who must navigate an old land in order to reconcile his family’s history.
There’s a whole lot to unpack in this series opener. Skottie Young doesn’t mess around with a whole lot of background or exposition in Middlewest #1. He throws the reader straight into young Abel’s nightmare, a sentient storm screaming his name, relentlessly pursuing the boy, threatening to swallow him up. In true nightmare fashion, Abel wakes just before meeting his awful fate, only to realize he may be in for an actual licking in the waking world.
There are clear elements of fantasy in this classic coming-of-age tale. The boy’s best friend is a talking fox. Not sure if the fox is real, or if the fox really talks yet. No one in the book addresses the beast. There are also these unexplained bottles of pink goo hanging all over the place. Power source? Food storage? It’ll come up soon, I’m sure.
The artwork on Middlewest is gorgeous. Jorge Corona and Jean-Francois Beaulieu bring an aesthetic that seamlessly blends the lighter fantasy elements with darker themes of domestic abuse and parental abandonment. This thing takes turns from bright and airy to dark and scary on a dime.
Middlewest #1 does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Young and co. deliver just enough meat to draw the reader in without giving away the farm. The book goes full circle, ending in just about the same spot it started, with a big reveal that, while it does explain a thing, also begs more questions. Is that spoiler-free vague enough?
Middlewest #1, Image Comics, released on 21 November 2018. Written by Skottie Young, art by Jorge Corona, color by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot. Covers available by Mike Huddleston, Jorge Corona, and Skottie Young.