Middlewest #8 Starts Taking A Darker Turn

by Tony Thornley

Middlewest has had a streak of darkness the entirety of its run so far. However, with this new arc that darkness is more and more apparent, and this issue dives right into it.

Skottie Young, Jorge Corona, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and Nate Piekos continue Abel’s journey as other players make their movies.

As Abel and Fox makes progress towards Abel’s goal- finding his mother- while other players in his world make moves. Back at the remains of the carnival, Maggie questions whether forcing Abel to leave what the right choice, as her family and friends confront her about her callous actions. Meanwhile, Abel’s father is drawing ever closer to him…

Young’s story has mirrored his protagonist growing up, which has made an interesting trajectory for the series. Even though Abel only features in a few pages of this issue, everything in the story is intended to either advance or hinder his progression. It’s also full of great moments for each character, giving us more insight to each of them. It’s mature without being non-genuine, adding emotion to the story and exposing more of the inner themes of the series as a whole.

Corona’s art continues to make this fantastic world come to life. The sequence of Abel’s father Dale confronting a group of diner patrons moves from a genuine feeling of concern, to a bit pathetic to frightening, all thanks to Corona’s take on him, shifting his body language, facial expression and such. Beaulieu bathes the story in atmosphere- using yellows and reds in the dinner, and deep blues and greys with Abel and Fox- that deepen and enhance the story.

The series started as something I’d be willing to sit down and read to my kids. Now it’s growing up, and might be something to share with someone actually growing up like Abel.

Middlewest #8 is available now from Image Comics.

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