Written By: Joe Henderson
Art By: Lee Garbett
Published By: Image Comics
In Skyward, Earth’s gravitational pull weakens and everything and everyone is sent to the sky. Fast forward twenty years and humans have adapted to the change, spending their days indoors or tethered to the ground. We follow a young woman named Willa who spends her days roaming the city, getting into trouble and delivering packages to the people of Chicago. She also has a lot of drama going on like a job, boys, phoned in “Daddy Issues” and wanting to see the world but she can’t cause y’know… reasons.
For those up to date on their PS4 exclusives, the premise might remind you of Gravity Rush but truth be told, Skyward is neither as fun or charming as the Sony exclusive. It’s a very boring first entry into a series with potential to be more. I also find the use of gravity just flat out doesn’t make sense. In Skyward, the gravity is lighter which apparently means it has an adverse effect on heavier objects like cars? Willa’s mother Lily is struck by flying car as her husband tries to rescue her, thus leading to her high altitude death in the beginning and it feels incredibly ham-fisted. Almost as if the book’s writer, Joe Henderson didn’t really know what else to do but as per the rule of comic book thumb, there had to be a dead parent and death by “low gravity car” was the only way.
I understand that it’s a comic book and there needs to be some suspension of disbelief but it’s just hard to do that when the writing is so fast and loose with the way it handles gravity. Some things just don’t make sense. Supposedly in a world with less gravity, a pedestrian crossing sign is “weird” because apparently in a world with less gravity, people never cross paths. In a world with less gravity, the simple act of pulling a gun’s trigger can blast you into the stratosphere, where certain death awaits…. unless you fire in the opposite direction then you’ll be sent speeding toward the Earth, but with just enough velocity to land softly on the ground. I realize these were supposed to make the world of Skyward seem fun and whimsical in a modern way but it really misses the mark and anyone with a basic grasp on how gravity works will spend most of their time questioning just what the hell is going on.
The art is probably the best thing about Skyward honestly. Artist Lee Garbett does an absolutely wonderful job breathing life into each panel with wonderful facial features and backgrounds. One thing I liked were the small details of how the city has adapted to Earth’s new gravitational pull with lines strung up all around. Its citizens go outside with tethers strapped around their bodies and those willing to risk going moving around without being tethered like Willa use other means like gas canisters to get around. Its those small details that really help push Skyward forward but unfortunately it isn’t enough.
As an optimistic reader, I had a hard time finding anything that I liked about Skyward. It tries to spin too many plates at once for a first issue and just doesn’t seem to even have a coherent grasp on gravity which is the central plot mechanic. Overall though, I just found it really boring and its just too bad it’s art work can’t save it from being a bad comic.