By Ben Snyder
While the zero gravity makes common-place earth and its dynamics interesting, the rest of Skywards #2’s script is anything but. Writer Joe Henderson and Artist Lee Garbett attempt to forge forward and examine how no gravity would affect our world and it’s inhabitants, the result is simply not that unique. It feels like a story repeatedly told with so little to differentiate it from the crowd. It’s not unreadable, and it’s not boring, I think the Zero-gravity is more than enough of a hook for right now, but something else will need to change, specifically its main character.
Joe Henderson has created a moderately interesting world. The dynamic with zero gravity is surprisingly very subtle, but it certainly still shapes the socio-political dynamic of Skywards world. I especially like the jokes that the people who wear magnetized clothing say about the people in jetpacks, saying that they “pee up at the sky.” It’s a humor that cements how elitist they actually are.
But this joke also brings me to my biggest concern with the series moving forward and with this issue. Willa is a very annoying character to the point that she might ward people away from this story. She is childish and juvenile and stupidly naïve. When approaching Roger Barrows. Barrows is the richest and most popular man magnetized to earth, and Willa approaches him in the lesser class jetpack and armed with a gun and expects to be allowed to see him? The whole scene was destined for failure, and it could have been played for laughs if it weren’t so obvious and Willa wasn’t so callous in dispatching her pursuers. She literally kills a guy by zapping his magnet boots, allowing him to float into space.
She is also unnecessarily mean spirited to her father. I understand she is young and can be insensitive but it seems that she is downright cruel to her father who is obviously suffering from her PTSD-induced agoraphobia. Nathan, a former brilliant scientist who worked with Barrow, could genuinely (and most likely does) have the gadget or formula that could save the world. But Willa is resistant on believing him because he is terrified of leaving his house. What makes this scene feel even worse is that it’s kind of played for laughs.
Lee Garbett’s art style is suited to the tone of the story that Henderson is trying to create. His character designs are fun and whimsical, but he is capable of showing depth and ample movement. The opening scene of everything floating around Earth is particularly well drawn and the level of detail is stellar. Some of his character designs could use some work. His portrayal of Barrow’s is stereotypically “evil guy, pretending to be savior in a fancy suit”. Ultimately I feel as though Garbett could have much more fun with the fashion and environment of this zero gravity world and I wish he would seize the opportunity.
Skyward #2 is a mediocre addition to a series that needs a lot of work going forward. I love the concept of a world without gravity and some of the characters do work, so the bones are there. Joe Henderson and Lee Garbett simply need to do more with Willa and make her semi-likable or even capable, while fixing some other flaws.