Most comics set up the plot in issue 1 and dive into the action in issue 2. However, Little Bird by Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram takes readers on a journey that subverts expectations. Little Bird sets up a fairly archetypal hero’s journey in the first issue then torpedos all preconceptions in issue 2. Forget all that you know, for you know nothing!
When we spoke at ECCC, Van Poelgeest expressed the importance of dramatic pacing in Little Bird. This sensibility is epitomized in an entire two-page spread devoted to a leaf falling from an ancient tree. In most mainstream comics, splash-pages typically depict violent action, but Little Bird’s meditative anticipation is just as emotionally impactful.
The second issue explores the lore of Little Bird’s strange world. But conflicting stories told by unreliable narrators leave us with more questions than answers.
When Little Bird frees the Axe from the super-prison, I noticed many alien inmates including a certain kryptonian cameo. But, this might be more than a visual gag. I’ve spotted other caped superhero characters in the background art. Are there superheroes in this world? Or have they been wiped out? Only time will tell if it’s a joke or a plot point. Either way it makes the world feel more expansive.
Little Bird has been described as having the same limitless scale of East of West and the surreal SciFi art of Akira. So far the series hasn’t disappointed and I have a feeling that Little Bird could become one of Image Comics’ biggest titles.
Look for Little Bird issue 2 this week at your local comic shop.