Skyward #9 Goes Higher And Higher

by Richard Bruton

The final issue of one of my favourite comics of the year should be in stores now.
It’s this…

Isn’t that simply gorgeous?
Yes, yes it is.
Skyward issue 9 has a cover that’s very much a call back to the first issue. But although Garbett’s reusing the positioning of Willa, the image on the cover of issue 9 is still different, and I mean far more than the simple differences in position and background up there. It’s different, more mature even, with a depth to the art that’s new, there’s far more texture here than the flat image and colors back on the cover to issue 1. And that’s a perfect thing for Skyward, it fits just right into the way young Willa has grown and matured, forced to by the situations she’s found herself thrust into.
But, what makes it a stunning cover is that Garbett gets all that in yet sill keeps that same level of near transcendental joy we say way back with issue 1.
Remember that?

As for the issue itself, well, Garbett keeps going on the inside as well. Perfect artwork for the comic, a lightness to it that comes from a simplicity, an easy going page layout, panel layout, keeping the flow across pages easy and clean. No showboating, no overly complicated visual games, just great storytelling that reads as good as it looks.
And Joe Henderson isn’t doing too badly either. Between them, Garbett and Henderson have created a comic that looks, certainly to me, as though it’s got the legs to run and run.
What goes on in issue 9 is simple, we’re taking stock, setting up the push to come. On the one side, there’s Willa’s mission, her need to decipher her father’s research and rescue the world, restore gravity and make things as they were. On the other, the farmers seeking to push back against those who’ve been keeping them down for so long, which is why Barrow is where he is right now. And then there’s Edison, Willa’s friend whose life has been transformed for the better by the low-G world. As Barrow points out, will Edison be happy if Willa sees her plan through?

The cast is being slowly assembled, the tight focus on Willa in the first arc expanding slowly with this second arc. Again, I’m getting The Walking Dead vibe from it. Not in content so much as tone and construction. First, there’s the sense of a narrative that focused tight on one character at first, established a supporting cast and, now, nearly into double figures, is letting the supporting cast take on more of the narrative load. And then there’s the whole humanity threatened, yet the true threat is from ourselves vibe going on, with Lucas and the farmers deciding to take the fight to Barrow and the cities, yet managing to cause nothing but tragedy.
Which brings me to the wow moment of this issue, something delivered quietly, almost matter of fact, by Henderson, as he has Lucas tell of what happened in Kansas City the first time the farmers sought to turn off the tech the city folks depend on. The low key nature of the reveal making it somehow all the more shocking. Again, just as I’ve said about the science Henderson and Garbett are exploring in this new world, there’s a cleverness to the way this latest revelation comes out. A cleverness that’s there in the very DNA of Skyward.
Here’s the first two pages, just to give you the flavour of what’s going on and to keep spoilers at bay…

Yes, Skyward has been one of my favorite series of 2018, and there’s no sign it’s going to be anything but one of my ongoing favorites into 2019 as well.
Next issue… another gorgeous Garbett cover…

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: