Middlewest #9 Unravels A Modern Mythology

by Tony Thornley

Middlewest has been many things- a fantasy story, a family drama, and a road trip adventure. When the story has really shone has been when it has mixed its disparate elements, that is what makes Middlewest #9 stand out.

Skottie Young, Jorge Corona, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and Nate Piekos continue Abel’s adventure, and take it in an unexpected direction.

Bobby takes to the road to catch up to Abel, and provide her friend with help. Meanwhile, Abel and Fox encounters the Nowak, a tribe that has settled much of Middlewest’s wilds. This leads him into a vision of an elder god, and directly onto the path of the one being who could provide him with answers…

Young condenses everything he’s done so far into a satisfying single issue. We see how much Abel’s journey has changed both him and those around him, as seen through Fox and Bobby. However, we also see more of the world of Middlewest, building more of its mythology and showing how little we’ve actually seen of it. It’s engrossing and incredibly well crafted.

Corona and Beaulieu continue to provide some of the best visuals in a creator owned book this year. The elder god, Nokoyuna, is a dominating presence on the page. They duo gives him a stunning design, but on the page, they show how commanding he is through panels that are closely focused on him, with most of his form spilling outside of it. At the end of the issue, they portray a passage of time and distance, using simple cues in the layout, the colors, and the figure work to make it feel real.

We might be on the verge of answers, as the second arc nears a climax. However, it may not go well for Abel.

Middlewest #9 is available now from Image Comics.

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