One of the things that easily said about comic book creators is that they tend to always have their finger on the pulse of fandom. They know what fans like, and, while they may not always be in a position to serve up exactly what those fans want, more often than not they get pretty close. It’s as if fandom has this zeitgeist that, while always changing, manages to always retain a few constants: the rough, roguish hero … the need for speed … and some quick, splashy adventure. You put them together in whatever fashion, and you’re liable to produce some solid return on the investment … but when you capture lightning in a bottle? Well, then you do what you can – nay, what you must – to keep it ‘electrifying.’
A bit talky right outta the gate, WILD BLUE YONDER is a sight to behold – a frenetic look at one possible apocalypse that involves old-style, steampunkish aircraft battling for air supremacy in the world of tomorrow. That sounds like a winning recipe to me!
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then this ain’t for you! Instead, I’d encourage you to skip down to my last two paragraphs for my final, technical assessment. If, however, you accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
In our future, Earth has taken a beating. Wars and pollutions have devastated much of the surface, and, in order for mankind its constant quest for survival, men and women have taken to immeasurably higher ground or, better yet, to the air. High up there, aircraft and jetpacks wage a constant battle for control of space, manpower, and resources, but there’s none greater than that being waged between the Executioner and the Dawn – two aircraft carriers controlled by opposing forces. The Executioner responds only to orders from the Judge – a dark, mysterious, and ominous leader who demands unquestionable allegiance. The Dawn? She’s captained by Olivia and whatever ragtag assortment of human leftovers she can put together … but they’ll fight to the finish if this ‘first chapter’ into the WILD BLUE YONDER is any indication.
As a fanboy, I found there plenty to get excited about in this new title. Who doesn’t love the most primary elements of science fiction and fantasy? Instead of STAR WARS, creators Mike Raicht, Zach Howard, and Austin Harrison are delivering up ‘Air Wars’ with a heavy blend of vintage and futuristic looking airships. Would sci-fi ever be complete without its dystopian influences? What we know of our world is gone – much as it was in the MAD MAX trilogy or WATERWORLD or even CHILDREN OF MEN – so we’re all going about the business of just figuring how to get by.
Readers get pulled into this world by way of a prologue – it’s needed to introduce the stakes – and then even further by the characters of Cola (a female Han Solo if there ever was), Critter (her faithful Wookie – erm – canine companion), and Tug (the new gunner she recruits for her bird in the opening). Throw in some wondrously bloody and unpredictable air combat – amped up by the fact that some of the warriors take down planes with the use of their jetpacks – and YONDER looks like it’s taking ingredients from fandom’s most beloved properties and fixing up a veritable stew.
I don’t know about you and your tastes, but I’ve spent years understanding my own palate. I know what I like. While this first issues was a bit ‘talky’ for my tastes, I’ll definitely be here in 30 days to see where this macabre but delightful trip is headed.
WILD BLUE YONDER is published by IDW Comics. The story is by Mike Raicht, Zach Howard, and Austin Harrison; the art is by Zach Howard; the colors are by Nelson Daniels; and the lettering is by Thompson Knox. This first issue also bears out a very classy, very upbeat ‘welcome’ from the creators of YONDER and their “Noble Transmission” founders (Make, Zach, and Austin); it was a nice touch for something new springing out of the gate. While this one is only billed presently as a miniseries, I’m hoping there might be enough interest to keep this one around a bit longer than most other minis I’ve read. The issue bears the cover price of $3.99, a bargain if you can get it!
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. There are a myriad of influences that appear to be at work here, from STAR WARS to BUCK ROGERS and FLASH GORDON and maybe even a little bit of THE AVENGERS and MAD MAX thrown in for good measure. It’s exactly the kind of read any fanboy (or fangirl) would/could/should want, so why not pick up this first issue and decide for yourself? Odds are, you’ll find something that’ll draw you back for the next issue, as this one primarily dishes up just enough action to whet your appetite. Now that we know the players, let’s see what’s really waiting up in the WILD BLUE YONDER!
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