Writer: Skottie Young, Art: Jorge Corona, Colors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot.
For those unfamiliar with Middlewest, it's an epic saga focused on Abel and his companion Fox. Abel runs away from home after his father, an angry single dad, turns into a literal tornado filled with so much anger, that it sends his son running. Abel learns he too has whatever has made his father so angry and shape-shifting, and is on a quest to find out how to rid himself of the curse. At the end of Book One, Abel met colorful characters such as Jebadiah, a lone man in the woods, Maggie, a fierce woman who runs a circus (sister of Jebadiah), and Bobby, a girl Abel's age with whom he forms a friendship. Abel is taken in by the folks of the circus, his new family, and Book Two (featuring issues #7-12) keeps us moving along through the story.
Unable to control his anger, young Abel unleashed what he had run away from in the first place onto his newfound family at the circus. Fearing he'd hurt his people even more, he runs away in search of a way to quell or rid himself of whatever's causing him to wreak such havoc. Along the way, he runs into never-ending forests, a peaceful tribe that guides him, and a long-lost relative. The story moves from a simple running-away-adventure into much more. Abel's father is on the move, not to punish his son, but out of fear... fear that his son is alone and scared. But by the end of Book Two, things aren't looking so good for Abel, his father, and everyone in between.
I must admit that the first issue of Book One didn't hook me. I enjoyed it for sure; Corona's art was the main draw. But I found the dialogue stilted and the premise a little off-base. By issue two I was hooked. I reviewed Book One for this site not long ago (favorably I'll add) and am even more of a fan after Book Two. I enjoy reading this in trade form because the story just flows so smoothly and there's so much going on, that being able to read five or more issues at once allows for me to be enveloped in adventure. Young's storytelling is on point in these issues. As an artist himself, I'm sure he knows exactly what he wants to invoke visually. But he's built such an amazing world and complex characters, that his voice shines even though he's not on art duties.
Corona and Beaulieu paint a beautiful world of the Middlewest and all of the cities and people that inhabit it. Corona's contours and style remind me of a more expansive Calvin and Hobbes universe. Coupled with Beaulieu's beautiful and eye-popping colors makes for one of the most aesthetically pleasing books on the market. Piekos' lettering is art in itself, fitting the style of each page beautifully. This book would not be the same with a different team.
I implore you to pick this book up if you've been following in trades. If not, pick up Book One and then on Wednesday November 20th, grab this trade. You won't regret it.
Middlewest Book Two hits shelves November 20th.
Middlewest Book One (issues #1-6)