Friday, August 20, 2010

Air #24

Written by G. Willow Wilson
Art by MK Perker

It's a shame that Air is ending, but at the same time, that a book like this can get a two-year run in today's market is impressive.  Air is one of those newer breed of Vertigo books, like Sweet Tooth or Northlanders, that is more concerned with exploring a notion than with telling a traditional, dark fantasy story.  It took risks, was never very popular (sales demonstrate this), and should be considered a complete success of intelligent storytelling.

I'm thankful that Wilson was given enough space to finish off her story, because an overly-rushed ending would have done a great disservice to what she had planned and so clearly mapped out.  In this conclusion, I feel like there may have been some corners cut - we never really do get a solid explanation of what Quetzalcoatl represented, and I would have loved to see more of Blythe's adventures in flying - but there was more than enough space to come to a satisfying conclusion.

This book started out being about the fear of flying (and not in an Erica Jong way - that came later).  Blythe, the stewardess, was technically afraid of falling more than falling, and the Etesian Front were a shadowy anti-terrorist network that wanted to make the skies safe for all Americans again.  It's interesting that this book morphed so quickly into what it really was - a comic about the power of symbols, and the story of Blythe's journey of self-actualization, as she took on the role of a hyperpract (the ability to fly through reinterpretation of maps and symbols).  At the beginning of the series, I didn't like Blythe that much, but now at the end, I feel like I'm going to miss her.

Wilson did a wonderful job on this book.  She invested a great deal of personality into her characters, demonstrated a novel approach to science fiction, and used the book to transmit some of her personal beliefs.  I especially liked the issues about Zayn and fundamentalism.  Perker was a great artist for this book, and was consistently excellent throughout the run.

I hope that Air is one of those Vertigo books that finds new life through trade sales, and that Wilson and Perker work together again soon.

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