When it comes to science fiction, sometimes the best stories in that genre are based on speculative fiction, whether it is Y: The Last Man, which showed us how one man survives in a world ruled by women, or the literature of Stephen King, whose books are mostly born out of “what if” scenarios. As for the latest title from Image Comics, Skyward, it has one great premise, which is “what if the world suddenly lost its gravity?”
Twenty years in the future, humanity has adapted to its new low-gravity reality. Born before G-Day, Willa Fowler embraces the sky with a job in delivery service, much to the displeasure of her reclusive father, a former scientist who predicted G-Day. After all these years, he may have found a way to cure this upside-down world.
With this idea of a low-G world, Lucifer show runner Joe Henderson opens the door for clever world-building throughout most of this volume — youthful messengers travel throughout the skyscrapers of Chicago, while the rich and powerful capitalize on the repercussions of G-Day with the advanced development of magnetization. There’s even room for humor in this world, such as a funny sequence about sex education that makes you think that the creators of Sex Criminals had some say. All of this is greatly realized by artist Lee Garbett, whose art is lively and breezy with large panels showcasing these free-spirited characters flying through dangerous situations, whether it is the claustrophobic streets from the below or a spectacular zero-gravity storm from above.
As impressive as the world-building can be, as evident in the first issue, the storytelling isn’t as successful. It takes a while for important plot points to occur and there’s rarely any development towards many of the characters, most notably the villainous entrepreneur who made his success off the back of G-Day. If there is an emotional hook to this comic, it is the protagonist herself, as despite her sky-filled lifestyle, Willa has this desire to see the rest of the world, something that her father disapproves of given his fear of stepping into the outside world as G-Day became a day of personal loss for him.
Without getting spoilers, it’ll be interesting to see what the rest of this upside-down world will look like. Hopefully Henderson is able to maintain this strong premise — although there wasn’t a lot happening in terms of plot, at least Willa is a fun enough protagonist to hopefully make Skyward as free-spirited as her.
It’s not the most plot-heavy book, but Skyward is a fun adventure story built on a unique premise that piques enough interest to make me want to see where it goes in its next volume.