Review: “Air” by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker
There’s something so unabashedly original about writer G. Willow Wilson that it’s nearly impossible to not enjoy her comics projects, like last year’s graphic novel [[[Cairo]]] and this week’s new series [[[Air]]].
Wilson brings an entirely new voice and outlook to comics, keeping relevant to contemporary culture while digging into issues like terrorism, nationalism and identity. In Air, the focus is on Blythe, a stewardess who has the unfortunate disposition of being afraid of heights.
While a lesser writer might use that gimmick as a crutch, Wilson allows it to simply exist as one aspect of a fully realized world. The focus from the first stunning page (M.K. Perker deserves a lot of credit here) is on the shadowy forces hijacking Blythe’s airplane, and a world of intrigue opens up chaotically.
For such a structured writer (Wilson’s end note on writing is worth a read), she lets the reins go slack a little too much in this issue, with its convoluted narrative and repetitive settings.
With nearly every scene being set in an airport or airplane, it’s difficult to follow the issue’s chronology, though that has the likely intended effect of establishing how confused Blythe is.
Vertigo allowed me to read the first arc of the story, and it takes about that long to gain a sturdy footing in this new world Wilson has created. But it’s an endlessly fun and inventive ride, and by the sixth issue Air appears on the verge of becoming the next great Vertigo book.
If nothing else, it’s deeply ambitious and delightfully new. Of course, I might be biased, as Wilson is a fellow journalist turned comics person.
Van Jensen is a former crime reporter turned comic book journalist. Every Wednesday, he braves Atlanta traffic to visit Oxford Comics, where he reads a whole mess of books for his weekly reviews. Van’s blog can be found at graphicfiction.wordpress.com.
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