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Review – Middlewest #2 (Image Comics)

Middlewest #2 (Image Comics) cover (detail) by Mike Huddleston
Overall
9.1/10
9.1/10
  • Writing - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Art - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Overall - 9.25/10
    9.3/10
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Summary

Author: Skottie Young
Artist: Jorge Corona
Colors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Lettering: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover Art: Mike Huddleston
Editor: Kent Wagenschutz
Production: Carey Hall
Publisher: Image Comics
Maturity Rating: Mature
Release Date: December 19, 2018

Young Abel is on a quest. During his journey, he hopes to learn about himself, his family, and the strange land he’s traversing.

 

Middlewest #2 Is Just As Striking As the First Issue

The first issue, Middlewest #1, caught our attention with striking imagery and an enchanting world. Middlewest #2 holds our attention with the introduction of the plot itself. Young Abel is on a quest to find out the truth of his family, the truth of himself. It doesn’t matter to Abel that his travels are going to take him through lands he’s never been to. 

Writing

Middlewest #2 (Image Comics) cover by Mike Huddleston
Middlewest #2 – Cover by Mike Huddleston

It was the artwork that originally drew me to Middlewest, but it’s the writing that’s keeping me invested. Skottie Young writes with compelling force. Many details are close to the surface and easy to pick up on, and points feel familiar and comforting. Despite this Abel’s tale is something completely unique and unseen. Those easy to recognize points and facts hide deeper meaning, meaning which we’re only slowly starting to understand.

Middlewest #2 has thrown Abel, and thus us, into the thick of things. Within a couple of pages, it became immediately clear that Abel was on a quest most similar to that of The Wizard of Oz. Think about it. There’s a child who has gone out on a journey, characters with magic (or implied magic, in some cases), talking critters that aren’t quite as helpful as we’d like, and threats that the main character has never seen before. Granted, there’s quite a lot that isn’t similar as well, but the similarities are enough to make the series feel recognizable, like it’s something we know how to handle.

The series is clearly one part wizards and magic and one part coming-of-age tale…but it still feels like there’s so much more than that. I don’t quite know what Skottie Young is going to throw our way, but I suspect it’ll be revealed in time.

Art

The artwork for this series is amazing, to put it bluntly. If I was doing an award show for graphic novels, then I would have to say that Middlewest would win the best art of the year award. Sadly, I’m not doing an award show, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

Jorge Corona and Jean-Francois Beaulieu make a fantastic team. Corona’s line work and Beaulieu’s coloring…it’s surreal, bright, whimsical, and dozens of other adjectives all combined. The world truly does look both familiar and unknown at the same time. There are elements that we can easily recognize and feel comfortable with, like the basic structures of the buildings or the forests. But every now and then they’ll throw something in that is unlike anything we’re used to living with. It’s a nice reminder that we’re not dealing with a world as easy to understand as our own. 

A few of the scenes in particular really struck me here. There are scenes that are implied to be almost mundane to the characters involved, a home (or a shack, depending on your interpretation). But to me, it looked like a miniaturized circus. Whimsical, well-loved, and bright.

Conclusion

Middlewest #2 held my attention and continued the story in ways I barely hoped to see. It upped the ante with the plot, and maintained the gorgeous art style that we’ve already come to expect from it.

The introduction of a quest was a brilliant way to move the whole coming-of-age plot forward. It’s blending a couple of tales we’re used to seeing, but at the same time twisting them into something new. I’m looking forward to seeing where Abel’s quest will leave him, as I’m sure it’s going to be one heck of a ride. 


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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