01/11/2010. Contributed by Gareth D Jones
pub: Air 1: Letters From Lost Countries by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker. Titan Books. 144 page graphic novel. Price: GBP 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84856-881-5.
check out websites: www.titanbooks.comand www.dccomics.com
Before I start I should point out that I’m not an expert on graphic novels. In fact, I haven’t read one since ‘TinTin’ and ‘Asterix’ when I was a lad. I’ve been converted to an appreciation of the more mature version over the past couple of years by the fabulous ‘Murky Depths’ magazine. So much so that I’ve written a couple of my own comic scripts and the first has been accepted for publication. Anyway, enough about me, this is about ‘Air’, a series written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by M. K. Perker. ‘Letters From Lost Countries’ is the first volume, collecting chapters 1 to 5 together in an American comicbook-size softback format. I have to say that I enjoyed it immensely.
The main character is air stewardess Blythe, who suffers a fear of flying or, more correctly, a fear of falling from the sky. Her life becomes complicated when she meets the mysterious Zayn, who seems to work for one of two shadowy organisations that involve themselves in her life. Hi-jackings, terrorism and trips to a lost country ensue in a plot that is continually engaging and full of new surprises.
Although Blythe is required to act heroically from time to time, she is portrayed realistically. She has her fears, beliefs and hopes. She questions what is happening and looks to her friends for help. As circumstances spiral out of control, we are never forced to suspend disbelief too far.
The artwork is smart and atmospheric, whether in an airport, lost somewhere on the Indian sub-continent or at home in her apartment. The full-page dream scene of Blythe serving weapons to a plane-load of terrorists is particularly effective. There are certain scenes where her facial expression is rendered with extraordinary clarity and these are among the panels that make you stop and study them more closely, that really add to the depth of the story.
If, like me, you’re a newcomer to graphic novels, then I’m sure you will find this eminently satisfying. I have little experience to base a comparison on, but I don’t think anyone will be disappointed by this heady mixture of fantasy, SF, adventure and romance. I have volume 2 waiting on my shelf. I shall be reading it forthwith.
Gareth D. Jones
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