Skyward #1

Action Lab

Release Date:  7/31/13

Words:  Jeremy Dale

Pictures:  Jeremy Dale

The Sitch:

Quinn is a young boy living an idyllic life in the woods with his mentoring father, loving mother, and loyal family dog until a man from his father’s past comes for a visit and changes Quinn’s world forever.

The Confession:

This is a familiar story of boy with the idyllic life meets the cold hard truth of life.  That’s not to say it’s bad.  I picked this one up because it looked like a promising all ages kind of book, something not so easy to find these days.  It’s sort of classic.  These are the kind of stories I grew up with in which a young person, usually a boy, faced with great and sudden loss, is forced to grow up too soon.  He has no choice but to embark on an adventure that will make him into the man he’s destined to be.  In this case it’s Quinn.

Dale seems at home in this kind of storytelling.  The story moves along with ease quite quickly.  The reader gets a sense of Quinn’s peaceful and happy life just before it gets turned upside down.  The first book is always the setup, and the reader can quickly get a sense of all the characters save one, Quinn’s mother.  She gets the woman in the refrigerator treatment and is my biggest complaint.  To be fair, I learned there was a preview of Skyward on Free Comic Book Day’s Rush Zone also by Dale from Action Lab.  It did depict a strong female character that I assume will be coming up in the story so I’m not too upset just yet.

Dale’s artwork is consistent with the story.  It has a more all ages accessible look to it.  He uses a lot of vibrant colors so that even the dark parts of the story don’t look so dark.  The characters are well defined and detailed with that youthful vibe.  It almost has that cartoony look but if you look again, it’s just a bit more than that, again, consistent with the story.

That being said, it’s still not a bad read.  Especially if one is looking for something to read along with their kiddos.  I am actually more than hopeful that Dale will show me how to forgive him for throwing mom into the fridge.

The Final Plague #1

Action Lab Comics

Release Date:  7/3/13

Words:  Johnnie Arnold

Pictures:  Tony Guaraldi-Brown

The Sitch:

The zombie apocalypse via the rat population.

The Confession:

This one is for all of you that love a good horror comic.  Creepy, unsettling, hair-raising, nightmare inducing… these are a few words that come to mind after reading this comic.  I love rats.  Rats as zombies freak me the hell out.  Zombies freak me out to begin with, but  animals, wait… not just any animal, but an animal that can quickly form a swarm, just puts me on a pee-my-pants kind of edge.  Throw in a little science to make it all the more real is a bonus.

The art only adds to this feeling.  It gave me a frantic feeling I could not easily shake after reading.  Dark and foreboding here, and dark and desperate there… makes for a high anxiety experience.  Together, Guaraldi-Brown and Arnold can smoothly create a sense of dread and a serious ick factor that makes a good, scary story.