Oh Skyward, why you gotta do me like that? Here’s the thing, this first chapter will be very familiar to those that enjoy the fantasy genre (or the superhero genre as well). You’ll feel like you’ve read it a million times before, but it’s quite effective in the genre which is why it’s used. It’s the perfect catalyst for the plot and it will definitely keep you coming back for more. Also if you read the FCBD edition then you’re only going to recognize one character from that story, but I’m sure the other characters will come into play later in the series. The issue starts with Quinn and his father Corin fishing. Quinn’s a young boy and so he’s pretty excited when he gets a bit on his line, but not so excited when the fish breaks his pole to get loose. They share a father and son moment as they walk back, but as Quinn in complaining about breaking the pole his father’s hand reaches out and stops his movement. In their path is a wild boar that has a crazy look in its eye… it’s also eating a rabbit, which is pretty gross. Corin is forced to kill the boar as it charges at them and does so with one punch. Quinn thinks that it’s cool, but his dad cuts him off quickly saying that taking a life is never an easy matter to deal with. They make it home and we met Taryn: beautiful wife and mother.
Dinner is interrupted when an old friend of Corin’s comes calling. Herod arrives with two small… goblin looking things riding some monsters of their own. He asks to discuss things with him about the “old times” and Corin stupidly agrees to talk to him away from his family. You can probably figure out the rest, but I will say that it’s not good for the Corin/Taryan/Quinn family trio.
Even though the story was predictable, it was still really good. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a bummer, but like I said the events of this issue are the catalyst of the series. The writing was solid; the plot was well-paced and the dialog was for the most part was very believable and genuine sounding. Herod is kind of douche; I don’t know if that was intentional, but everything out of his mouth was kind of pointless. He might have been more believable if he had just shown up and said, “I’m the bad guy”, but every character has their role to play and I can only hope that he becomes a fuller character as the story continues.
With fantasy based stories you have to nail the art and Skyward nails it hard. I love experimental styles and thick gritty lines as much as the next indie reader, but for my fantasy I like it clean and dynamic. The art and coloring are vibrant and make the world look alive and beautiful. The setting looks like a world that’s mostly untouched by man and that means it’s ripe for adventure. As great as the art is, Jack the dog had moments of inconsistency. At times his head was too big or he just looked a bit goofy. I probably only noticed because I was going back through the book a few times, but it caught my eye. Otherwise the art was a nice treat and the right fit for the story.
If you like fantasy adventure then this story is definitely for you. Quinn has a long way to go before he’s an interesting character, but I have the feeling that once he’s mixed with our FCBD characters he’ll get there sooner rather than later. Now, I had an advanced look at this issue which is not out yet. If you’re interested then I encourage you to download the FCBD edition (here) and then be sure to pre-order the book. Action Lab has announced a price drop meaning all of their titles are going to be at the competitive price of $2.99, but what helps keep the price there is the pre-orders. The more they know to print the better the price (there are other factors as well of course). This first issue is $3.99 to begin with, but after that it drops to $2.99, so do not miss out on what has started off as an entertaining fantasy story about a boy and his dog.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Jeremy Dale
Colorist: Steve Downer
Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment
Release Date: 7/31/13