Written by Mike Raicht, Zach Howard, and Austin Harrison
Art by Zach Howard
I'd heard some good things about Wild Blue Yonder, a science fiction series from IDW, and jumped at the chance to pick up a full set recently.
This is a very good sci-fi adventure comic for fans of Mad Max. In the future, most of the Earth is uninhabitable, due to radiation and other environmental factors, and the luckiest people are the ones who live in the sky, on flying fortresses. Cola and her people live on the Dawn, which apparently is able to keep flying without fuel (this is never explained), which makes them a target for pirates and others who want to break themselves of dependency on fossil fuels (which are squeezed out of the Earth by a frequently mis-treated servant class).
Because of the violence inherent in this world, mixed with the lack of resources, especially ammunition, the fortresses have developed an interesting method of defence. Pilots like Cola fly their planes, and transport 'bullets', jetpack-wearing warriors who often go into battle with axes.
When the series opens, Cola is looking to recruit a new bullet after her previous one died on a mission. She finds Tug, the son of a miner, and we see the Dawn and its systems through his eyes. We quickly learn that things are not good between Cola and her mother, who runs the place, and that Cola's independence and flying skills are a problem between them. Worst of all, they both blame Cola for the previous bullet's death.
As the series progresses, we learn that the Judge, the commander of a large fleet, has his hopes set on taking the Dawn, and he has a variety of plans in place to make that happen.
This series is gorgeous. Zach Howard's art reminds me a lot of Sean Murphy's (in fact, comparisons to The Wake wouldn't be inaccurate), and his air battles are pretty incredible. Nelson Daniel's colours work very well; you can almost feel the heat off the various fires that fill the last two issues.
There's a fair amount of sticking to genre tropes in this story, but at the same time, in just six issues the writers had me caring about the characters and their world, and the art really made this book stand out. Recommended.