The lands between the coasts are vast, slow to change, and full of hidden magics. The town of Farmington has been destroyed sending an unwitting adventurer and his vulpine companion in search of answers to quell a coming storm that speaks his name. From author SKOTTIE YOUNG (I HATE FAIRYLAND, DEADPOOL) and artist JORGE CORONA (NO. 1 WITH A BULLET, FEATHERS, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA: OLD MAN JACK) comes the tale of Abel, a young boy who must navigate an old land in order to reconcile his family’s history.
Middlewest is a vibrant adventure into a fantastical future Midwest. It explores themes of parental abuse and how fear can lead to anger. As a disclaimer, I’ve already read Book Two, so some of those thoughts might color my review of Book One.
I read Middlewest a couple of months ago on recommendation from one of my friends who (not literally) tears through graphic novels. I haven’t read many myself, but I’m really getting into them as a format. In a lot of instances I think it’s harder to condense complex thoughts and story into a set number of frames rather than blowing out a 500-600 page novel. Don’t take that to mean that I don’t love filler – but I think there’s an art of succinct and impactful language that you get in graphic novels, coupled with evocative illustrations.
Middlewest has both an impactful, moving story and beautiful, rich art. Abel’s exploration of his family’s history is interesting, especially the generational nature of the anger that Abel’s father displays and the anger Abel sometimes finds within himself. Fear of loss and fear of change ignite a literal storm inside Abel and his father which plays out to destructive effect.
Jorge Corona’s art is amazing. The world is colorful and vibrant, and you can see the magic living in the world. Abel’s fox companion is a bit of levity and introspection into the situation at hand, and the fox’s expressions are very well done. There is old tech and new magic, bird skeletons and trains, mutated bunnies and all kinds of fun nuggets thrown in. And the tornadoes are extremely well-done and very frightening.
I will say that the plot is a bit lacking in Book One, but it definitely picks up in Book Two. If you enjoy the first you’ll enjoy the expansion on the world and some of the ideas in latter books.
If you’re looking for a quick read with deep, engaging art and a simple story about some of the destructive ways anger can manifest itself, look no further than Middlewest.