Air #4A comic review article by: Dan Hill
Plot: Blythe returns from her excursion to the strange and hidden world of Narimar. A trip to Mexico though thrusts her back into the thick of the mystery.
Comments: I came to this book based on one of its pitch lines, "Lost meets Howls Moving Castle." I'm a huge Lost fan and have enough knowledge about the latter to know it makes for an interesting pairing. I can certainly see the parallels with Lost; the concept of air travel in a post 9/11 world (utilised much more here might I add) and its intricate references to the strange, mystical and metaphysical.
But whilst the book does take some of its cues from TV and literature it still comes off as a wholly original and unique comic. There really is nothing else quite like it out there. Case in point, the beginning of this issue finds Blythe conversing with a bird-snake. So that's a reference to either Mayan or ancient Egyptian culture right off the bat! It's this conversation, real or imagined, that serves as a catalyst to transporting Blythe and her companions back to reality after their eventful stay in Narimar.
In this issue G. Willow Wilson also begins to peel back some of the layers of our main protagonist, Blythe. A re-occurring plot point so far has been Blythe's fear of falling, and never stopping. In a dream-like flash back sequence we see that, like a lot of us, Blythe's fear goes back to an event in her childhood.
It isn't long before Blythe is back on familiar soil. One scene, later, though and she is accompanying her boss to Mexico. It's here that some of the books problems start to crop up. There's too much going on too quickly. The intricacies of the plot, the large cast of characters and their connections, the references, they all need more room to breathe. I appreciate that finding the right balance in a story is a delicate and tricky thing. However with a little bit of tweaking the series could solve these problems. As it stands right now I'm finding it hard to keep up. Maybe watching Lost really has fried my brain.
No review would be complete without mentioning the work of M.K. Perker. Whilst his sense of setting can differ in quality his work on the books' covera have been consistently brilliant. They are always visually captivating and inventive and great to look at. Some of this inventiveness always finds its way into the book. The bird-snake in the opening pages slithering between the panels is a good example. His art and Chris Chuckry's colors give the books art a light, almost ethereal air which suits it perfectly.
I'll certainly be back for the next issue. But Blythe really needs to slow down soon.
Final word: Another solid issue. However, some pacing issues are making it hard to keep up and follow.