Middlewest #10 // Review
A boy meets his grandfather for the first time since he was far too young to remember. It might be a chance to learn something about his past. It might be a subtle drama. It’s not. It’s happening in the tenth issue of Skottie Young’s Middlewest. Naturally, there’s going to be darkness and powers beyond the realm of nature in THIS particular little reunion. Artist Jorge Corona once again shows a real affinity for delivering overwhelming supernatural power to the page in an issue featuring color by Jean-Francois Beaulieu. The mythology of the series pushes forward just a bit more in a respectably dramatic two-person drama.
Abel has pushed ahead into a snowy, snowy land in the Middlewest. He’s not dressed for the winter at all, he’s wearing shoes and jeans and a green shirt. No parks or boots or anything like that. Thankfully, there’s someone there to meet him who seems more than friendly: a guy who just happens to be his grandfather. Abel’s grandpa takes him to a cozy, little cabin where the two catch up on current events. What starts out as a simple meeting between estranged family members turns into something altogether darker as further mysteries are revealed tp young Abel.
Young has had a bit of a spotty history with pacing in the series thus far. In issue ten, he nails it almost perfectly. There’s a very clean and simple story being told in this chapter that fills the issue perfectly without feeling at all rushed. Abel’s meeting with his grandfather is given just enough room to breathe in subtle nuance AND grand, sweeping power that’s as big as the snowy wilderness. Abel’s personality is respectably evolving. By the end of this tenth issue, Young has dragged him through a great deal of danger that genuinely feels like it’s building up to something epic.
The epic scope of Middlewest continues to impress under the weight of Corona’s visuals. The frigidity of the winter snow can be felt pouring off the page. The snowscape feels imposing and formidable. Abel’s grandfather seems suitably imposing as he walks through it all without so much as a shiver. The power of the magic at issue’s end feels respectably overwhelming without compromising the more subtle end of Young’s drama. There’s a wary bitterness beneath the face of Abel’s grandfather that draws attention to the restless weariness of Abel’s search for understanding. Beaulieu’s colors give the snowy wastes a degree of depth. The clever redness of the cold-bitten flesh adds a sharp shiver to the wintery feeling of the issue.
With pacing well and fully back on track, Young and Corona’s story has regained a sense of momentum about it. The placement of a frigid, wintery issue in the heat of a late summer adds to the earthbound sense of fantasy about the serial. Summer solstice feels like a distant memory. The days are getting shorter. Winter is coming, It’s going to be cold. Young and Corona are there to echo the dream of the near future into the tale of Abel’s past.