Title: Feathers #1
Writer: Jorge Corona
Artist: Jorge Corona
Publisher: Archaia / BOOM!
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Every once and a while I’ll delve into an all-ages or family-friendly title because sometimes I just want a break from the serious stuff. The premise of Feathers was enough to get me on board, but it’s too hard to tell yet if it might just be a title that is better left to younger readers.
The story opens with a couple of conversing unnamed and unseen narrators, explaining the beginning of our soon-to-be protagonist Poe and, seemingly, the would-be antagonist. Poe is a poor orphan child who has the added misfortune to be born entirely covered in feathers. Like many orphans before him, he’s dumped in an alley in The Maze to perish before being saved by the kindly old man Gabriel. The tropes are classic, but the little spins on them are enough to keep the reader interested.
Inside the White Walled City we have Bianca, the little daughter of a Lord, who desperately wishes to flee the walls and have herself an adventure in The Maze. It’s no trouble to see that her and Poe will, well… get into trouble. It is setting up to play out very much like a classic fairytale or children’s story, but with enough adult elements (class divide, poverty) to keep older readers tied into the wonder.
The downside comes with the characters’ stories themselves. While they’re all charming on the surface in their own way, I didn’t find myself compelled to really need to know what was going to happen to them next. Slapstick actions and rambunctiousness wasn’t enough to cut it for me, which brings me back to my statement about this book probably resonating much better with younger audiences. It is, after all, very gorgeous; and this takes me to my final point.
The art is wonderful. It’s endearing both due to its quality and its cartoonish style, making The Maze really pop with a fantastical Victorian quality. Splashes of red and yellow help certain panels stand out from the rather glum colouring of the city at large, while character models are so well done that readers of any age can appreciate the differences between each.
At the end of the day, Feathers is charming and likeable (and really almost loveable) without having a seriously compelling story just yet. Hopefully successive issues will cast some light into the years that passed between Poe’s infancy and his current rooftop-hopping shenanigans.
Review by Brent Gladney