Amazing Forest #1 Review

Posted January 27, 2016 by Josh McCullough in Nerdy Bits

Written by: Erick Freitas & Ulises Farinas

Art by: Julian Dufour, Matt Rota, Melody Often, Yumi Sakugawa

Publisher: IDW

I’ve covered a fair few anthologies during my time at the site, and I still absolutely love their charm. It takes a lot of creativity and talent to make a story stick with you after only a few pages, and it’s even harder to establish a creative voice given the limits. Thankfully, Amazing Forest is a series with not only a bunch of charm and personality, but one whose stories have been mulling around in my head ever since reading it.

There are four stories on offer in this first issue, ranging from an end of the world experiment, a frightened lost boy, a returning father changed by war, and a chilling bird-watching experience. The tales are wildly different; however, they all contain similar melancholic tones with a twist ending. Thankfully though, they aren’t entirely written around their twists and in fact, do quite a lot of clever, subtle world building that gets you involved rather than just trying to guess what they twist will be.

The first story, “The Tank,” features the strongest example of this. There’s so much going on under the surface that’s only hinted at, yet I couldn’t stop thinking about what this world might be like. It was this that was the most rewarding experience throughout the book. There’s so much storytelling potential only briefly glimpsed that’ll really fire up your imagination and make these stories rereadable. The last story, “Birdwatcher” is so multi-layered and metaphorical that I’m finding myself poring over it time and time again.

The art styles also deftly suit the types of stories Amazing Forest is telling. Unlike the writers, there’s a different artist for each story; therefore, the styles very far more in terms of tone than the writing, but it goes a long way to making the stories feel more varied. Of particular note was the art of Matt Rota in “Wolf Mother.” This was my least favourite of the four, yet it was saved by one of the strongest art styles, beautifully told and framed throughout. “Birdwatcher” also earns special mention once again by having undoubtedly the most beautiful art of the bunch. It’s unlike anything in the collection, mysterious and rather creepy. Yumi Sakugawa is certainly the stand out artist here.

Overall, Amazing Forest is a very exciting debut and a fantastic collection of short stories. While “Wolf Mother” was a bit of a weak link for me, seeming to be more about the resolution than anything else, the other stories work wonderfully and are nicely bittersweet and full of hidden depth to ponder over. This gets a strong recommendation, and I’m excited to see what comes of the next issue.

About the Author

Josh McCullough

A writer at WTN Josh is a huge comic fan whose tastes edge towards the strange and surreal. If there's one thing he loves more than comics then it's Doctor who. Never try and argue with him that there's a better doctor than Sylvester McCoy. Any fedoras that would make good press hats should be sent to his PO Box.