Published on January 16th, 2019 | by Dana Folkard
MIDDLEWEST #3 REVIEW
Summary: Abel makes his way to Sparland in search of Magdalena.
Abel and his small foxy companion are on the road in search of Magdalena, a woman who might be able to help remove Abel’s affliction. Their journey, however, is perilous and filled with danger, proving once again that trouble lurks around every corner in this strange and magical world.
The issue begins with Abel and the fox making their way to the town of Sparland. The road is long and dangerous but they must press on if they wish to reach their destination in good time. They stop for the night, resting in an abandoned building, where they begin talking about Abel’s father and the anger inside of him that exploded. Abel is reflective and somewhat confused by the whole ordeal, finding the truth of it all very hard to swallow. The following day, Abel is determined to get there fast, urging his small companion to make haste, however, when they happen upon a covered bridge, the fox warns Abel of what might be lurking inside. After a dangerous encounter with a troll, Abel and the fox continue on their quest, not letting anything get in their way.
Meanwhile, Abel’s father has reverted back to his human form and is wandering around naked, confused and infected with some kind of magic curse. A huge chunk of the town has been destroyed by the catastrophic storm that he created, and as he wanders through the wreckage of his home, he begins to recall and remember what unfolded here. Devastated about what happened, he collapses, passing out from the shock of it all. He wakes in hospital, where he learns that he is well, but that also his son is missing. Determined to make amends and find Abel, he abruptly leaves the hospital in search for his lost son.
What I loved about this issue was that we got to explore more of Dale’s story. So far, all we really know about him is that he can get insanely angry, which triggers some kind of internal magic response within his body, transforming him into the literal embodiment of a storm. So, it was nice to see another layer to this character, discovering that he does in fact possess remorse and regret over what transpired with Abel. Clearly, he does have some level of love for his son, but I am curious to know how genuine these feelings are. I also wonder if Dale is able to control these emotions when they boil over, or if he is just another ticking time bomb, waiting to explode again? I’m also curious to know where Abel’s mother is in all of this, and whether we’ll see her in future issues.
Visually, this is a gorgeous story, with a vibrant and eye-catching colour palette from Jean-Francois Beaulieu and beautiful and moving art by Jorge Corona. I really enjoy seeing the combination of the normal and mundane, alongside the strange and magical, which makes for a visually compelling story. This world feels rich and detailed, with each page filled with features and small clues alluding to the magical undercurrent of this place. It all comes together to give this world a very whimsical an enchanted feeling, which works perfectly alongside the overall tone of the story. Corona’s art is diverse and stylised, with many of the people having quite abstract features. For me, this helps to accentuate and highlight the extreme emotions that characters like Dale are experiencing. This is one particular character that doesn’t need to say a lot, as it is very clear as to what he is feeling just from looking at his face.
Overall, I’m really enjoying this story. I’ve found myself recommending this series to a lot of friends who are searching for a tale about magic that is a little different from the norm. With beautiful art and wonderful writing, this is a comic you shouldn’t be missing.
I’m giving this issue 4.8 out of 5 stars!
CREATIVE TEAM: Skottie Young, Jorge Corona and Jean-Francois Beaulieu
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PUBLICATION DATE: January 16, 2019
REVIEWER: Dana Folkard