Skyward is one of those rare comics that comes right out of the gate fully formed. The premise, the tone, the characters, and the mechanics that tie them together all have a sensibility that just meshes together without too much explanation. It comes out confident and ready to dazzle with possibilities with a fairly simple inciting incident. One day, the gravity in the world lowers enabling people to defy it. However, the beginning of that is unexpected and people suddenly floating away goes as poorly as you’d expect. What follows is a tight examination of how people’s lives would shift completely without something as simple and fundamental as gravity both in the immediate and jumping twenty years after the event.
Joe Henderson (primarily known for his work on Lucifer) does a great job of ushering the reader into the world of Skyward. The choice to focus on the moments immediately before gravity shut down is a smart one, giving us a glimpse into what life was like for people before it all fell apart. While we don’t get to see what life was like in the twenty years after the event (not yet anyway), there’s enough information given via the characters, and simple things like muggings or road signs that the state of the world is relatively easy to pick upon. Focusing on Willa as a protagonist, someone who’s young enough to have parents who lived in the world as it was, but also young enough that most of it means very little to her is a savvy way of creating contrast between our world and the one in the comic, it also allows it to feel very lived in.
Lee Garbett (who drew one of the best runs of a comic ever in Loki: Agent of Asgard) deserves so much praise here. A lot of what makes the world of Skyward work is in the details. Little things like balloons, placement of characters closer to the top of buildings rather than the bottom, angle of movement. All of those things make it easy to contextualize what type of world is brewing in Skyward, as well as what it’s like for the people to inhabit it. It also helps that Garbett is fantastic with expressions, acting is a tough art in comics, and it’s always nice to see a master. Antonio Fabela’s colors also add a great deal to the action with the lighting and its changes to help give some dimension to where things are in the newly organized world. That said: if you’re looking for a fresh start with comics, Skyward is definitely that and more. I’m really looking forward to the next issue.
4 G-Days out of 5