Writer: Darcy Van Poelgeest
Illustrator: Ian Bertram
Publisher: Image Comics
WHAT IS IT?
The second issue in a new dystopian science fiction series about a young girl who sets out to save the world against an evil, hyper-religious army of American invaders.
It feels a little like The Handmaid's Tale politically, but there are many surreal elements that make it fresh and new and interesting.
Check out my review of the first issue over at Multiversity Comics!
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
After the events from the first issue were set in motion against the American forces, issue #2 takes a moment to breathe and explain how the world works and how things got to this point before moving forward with the story.
Need a refresher?
America is now a theocracy, run by Christian zealots aggressively trying to stamp out any people with beliefs who differ from theirs. Little Bird is a young girl, separated from her warrior mother (pictured above), who must start the revolution against America against impossible odds.
But how did it come to this? How do some people seem to have powers beyond that of the typical human? And how can one little girl incite a revolution that will push back the violent tides of an entire country?
Every aspect of this title feels hand-crafted with care. Not a soul is phoning it in or doing a half-measure. This entire creative team went above and beyond making Little Bird.
The lovechild of Daniel Warren Johnson and Moebius, Ian Bertram's illustration work is organic and futuristic, meticulously detailed and finely inked
Bertram's use of panels to create pace and action is second-to-none. The work he does toward the end of this issue, especially, using black panels and sound effects rather than showing the action, is breathtaking.
Matt Hollingsworth is one of the top colorists, and the otherworldly element he brings to Little Bird is key to the title's genetic make-up. From the autumnal palette of the Canadian outdoors to the sterile-yet-sickly science fiction yellows and purples of American interiors, Hollingsworth's palette feels inspired by classic sci-fi comics, but also more, influenced as much by the scene's tone as its location. Truly brilliant work.
Readers with a keen eye or a love of lettering will be awestruck at Aditya Bidikar's work. From his hand-drawn balloons (ranging from red or ragged to calligraphic and more) to match Bertram's borders, to hand-lettering some parts of dialogue, to his strategic balloon placement (see more about this below), Bidikar proves once more why he's one of the comics industry's best letterers.
The creative team also seems to be working together closely to create this book. It doesn't feel like an assembled comic, but more like something each member of the team agreed upon and set forth to bring to life.
An example of this previous bullet is in the below image. Bertram's line work is in blue ink, rather than black and, with Hollingsworth's colors, creates a depth of field. Bidikar's letters make use of the page layout to build timing into Van Poelgeest's dialogue that's in-step with the characters as they descend the stairs.
Though this is Darcy Van Poelgeest's first comic, he brings his film experience to the page. You can definitely see his cinematic eye through his collaborative process with Ian Bertram, and the two seem to be simpatico, knowing when to rely on the narrative to tell the story and when it's better to let the art do the talking.
Van Poelgeest also knows how to tell a good story. With the audience hooked by the first issue, he knows it's the perfect time to go back and give some history of the world before moving forward again. As for the story itself? You can't help but feel invested after meeting this intriguing cast of characters and seeing the dystopia they're tasked with fighting against.
Ben Didier's elegant design work is iconic both in the logo design and in the book's little flourishes, elevating the title that much more
The red glowing tendrils make their appearance on the cover of each issue, rising higher and higher. Though we don't see much of them in issue #2, I wonder if they'll make an appearance next issue.
The rising action at the end of the issue is SO POWERFUL
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Might be too violent for some readers
There are no intentions of collecting the series into a trade paperback in the near future. However, they do plan to release a hardcover collection of the issues. That being said, purchasing the individual issues remains the most cost effective way to read the issues. The individual issues also have bonus material that won't be in the collected edition, so do consider picking them up!
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Little Bird is a visual feast in every page turn, from Ian Bertram's meticulous, stunning illustration to Matt Hollingsworth's ethereal colors.
And though this story is dystopian sci-fi with many surreal elements, it's grounded in current events, working on many different levels.
"Little Bird" will envelop you, wrapping you up in its beautiful, dangerous world. Easily one of the top 10 comics of 2019.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
We Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan & Steve Skroce
East of West, Vol. 1 by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta
Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
If you like the art:
Bowery Boys by Cory Levine, Ian Bertram & Brent David McKee
The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Moebius
Extremity, Vol. 1 by Daniel Warren Johnson
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Darcy Van Poelgeest – Writer
New Face: This is his first comic
Multitalented: Also an award-winning film writer and director
Outlander: Lives in Vancouver
Ian Bertram – Illustrator
Award Winner: was chosen as the Best New Talent of 2011 by Comicbookjesus.com
His unique style uses thousands of markings to form a greater
Matt Hollingsworth – Colorist
Prolific: Has worked in the industry for decades
Dream Team: Has worked with some of the biggest names and titles in comics (Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Rick Remender)
Outlander: Left America and moved to Croatia in 2006
Aditya Bidikar – Letterer
Multitalented: Co-hosts a comics podcast with fellow letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, called Letters & Lines
Enjoys hand-drawing his sound effects
Sometimes hosts a #LettererJam event on Twitter where letters all show their different approaches to a single page of comic book art
Ben Didier – Designer
Multitalented: Also works as a graphic designer, letterer and illustrator
Outlander: Like Darcy Van Poelgeest, he also lives in Vancouver
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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