Published on February 20th, 2019 | by Dana Folkard
MIDDLEWEST #4 REVIEW
Summary: New location, new characters and new developments.
Still on the hunt for Magdalena, Abel and the fox find themselves at a small carnival in Sparland. Their rumbling tummies spur them to go on the hunt for food, where they break a few rules, cause a raucous and get into all sorts of trouble in the process.
This issue begins at the Hurst Family Amazing Amusements, a carnival essentially, filled with all manner of rides, games and attractions. We see Abel wandering around the showground, searching for Magdalena, the only person who is able to cure him of his magical infection. Unfortunately, he cannot find her, and returns to his foxy companion disappointed. They discuss their unfortunate predicament, pondering over the possibility that she might not actually be alive anymore. Their conversation then turns to their most imminent concern: their hunger and the search for food. Fortunately, this crafty old fox is opportunistic, streetwise and can sniff out a meal with his eyes closed, thus begins Abel’s crash course in thieving food. Their efforts begin successful enough, scoring a large amount of corndogs to nosh on, however, their second venture draws the attention of some of the carnival workers. A mad dash through the carnival ensues, but these carnies are smart and know how to corner a thieving rat.
I quite liked the pacing of this issue, as it slowed down for the first section, allowing for Abel and the fox to reflect on their current situation and possible outcomes. It then quickly picks up pace, as their search for food begins, along with inevitable trouble that follows. The chase scene through the carnival is really quite excellent, relying on the lovely art of Jorge Corona to visually translate the unfolding drama with very little dialogue to guide it. In the end, I feel for Abel and can totally understand how desperate one can get when they’re hangry. Being hangry isn’t fun, and the temptation of hot corndogs would be too hard to resist when you’re struggling with a grumbling tum. No judgement here, my friend.
We are also introduced to some new characters, the carnies, that chase Abel and the fox down. A sharp young girl named Bobby, her mechanised robotic companion named Wrench and another character that I’ll be a little ambiguous about. At this stage, I can only speculate about this character, but to me it seems pretty obvious as to who it might be, but I’ll let you figure it out for yourselves. I really like the dynamic between Bobby and Wrench, finding their banter to be light-hearted, funny and somewhat reminiscent of the sharp and witty exchanges we see between Abel and the fox. I look forward to seeing more of these characters, and really hope that they aren’t just passing through.
Jorge Corona’s art is vibrant and filled with energy. I particularly liked the fast-paced chase scene through the carnival, loving the diverse angles and perspectives that we get to see. One of my favourite things to look at in Middlewest are the small details lurking in the background. Every page is jam-packed with wonderful little details about the nature of this world. It feels very rich and adds to the overall worldbuilding of the story. This issue unfolds completely at night, allowing for the colouring by Jean-Francois Beaulieu to really shine. There is a lovely sense of light throughout this issue, and it really does feel like a carnival awash in neon lights at night. Everything is bright, vivid and colourful, and it’s all very pretty to look at.
Overall, I thought that this was an engaging and fun issue of Middlewest. New characters bring new developments, and Abel finds himself in a rather interesting situation by the end of this chapter.
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: February 20, 2019
REVIEWER: Dana Folkard