REVIEW: Wild Blue Yonder #2

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Wild Blue Yonder #2 from IDW has jet packs, fighter planes, a mysterious ritual known as Movie Night, all sprinkled with a liberal dose of post-apocalyptic scarcity tropes. But does this make a recipe for success? Major Spoilers has the review.

SUMMARY

Pros
Wonderful world-building
Perfectly suited art style
Cons

Only five issues?
Villain feels a little stock

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


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WildBlueYonder2CoverWILD BLUE YONDER #2
Story and Script: Mike Raicht
Story and Art: Zach Howard
Story: Austin Harrison
Colors: Nelson Daniel
Lettering: Thompson Knox
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99

Previously, in Wild Blue Yonder: Most of the Earth is covered in radioactive poisons. The lucky live above it all, on mountains or airships, while the poor toil below, mining what remains of the civilized world. As a solar-powered airship, the Dawn is a coveted commodity, forcing its crew to flee from the villainous grasp of the Judge.

CLIMBING HIGH

The first issue of Wild Blue Yonder was a solidly stunning debut; it was an entry into an interesting, clever world populated with some interesting characters. This issue builds on the quality of the first, maintaining the energy and deepening a reader’s understanding of the setting. The first issue focused on young fighter pilot (and the Dawn‘s captain’s daughter) Cola as she recruited Tug for a life of adventure in the sky as a Gun. This issue, Tug begins his training, letting readers learn a little bit more about what a Gun really is. With bullets being scarce, fighter escorts don’t just dogfight – they also serve to bring Guns into the fight. Which is to say, jet pack-wearing, axe-wielding daredevils who do as much of the dirty work as their fuel will allow. Needless to say, longevity isn’t in a Gun’s job description.

Raicht’s script is skillful in how it doles out that information slowly, through how other characters respond to Tug’s entry into their world, and how the airship culture works in general aboard the Dawn. There’s a lot of good character work in this script. There’s a great character moment when one of the protagonists encounters the ritual of something called “Movie Night,” and gets a chance to watch a (familiar to the reader) film from yesteryear. The way that the character reacts, and what the character chooses to do and not do in light of that, is a great beat. The same goes for the gleeful recklessness of Scram, the Gun who takes Tug under his wing. I’m not as enamoured of the Judge, who hasn’t yet moved beyond a stock villain character (although he’s still a well done example of familiar tropes), but this is a small quibble in the face of the way that Raicht is able to use character moments to expand on his, Howard and Harrison’s interesting world.

SKIES TO CONQUER

A big factor in making the world of Wild Blue Yonder so engaging is Zach Howard’s art. I have a thing for looking at old WW2 aircraft designs. Howard’s work on the aircraft designs is spectacular, with Cola’s fighter resembling an updated, novel look at the classically beautiful P-38 Lightning. His characters are also expressive, detailed and lovingly grimy. There is a sort of 1930s industrial aesthetic to the book, which comes across as lived-in and functional rather than steampunk for steampunk’s sake. Nelson Daniel’s coloring is a good compliment to the work. The radiant blue skies of Tug’s training contrasts nicely with the dark, polluted world of the Judge. It underscores the pulp nature of the story, while still looking new.

BOTTOM LINE: WATCH THIS BOOK

If you’re looking for a fresh original world, and you like post-apocalyptic settings, dogfighting, jet packs and/or good comic book art, there will be something in Wild Blue Yonder that appeals to you. This is only a five issue miniseries, and I wish it were longer. Already, these are characters and this is a world that I would like to be reading about for some time to come. Wild Blue Yonder #2 earns a lofty four out of five stars. Check it out.

Rating: ★★★★☆