‘Wild Blue Yonder’ Graphic Novel Review
written by Mike Raicht; story and art by Zach Howard; story by Austin Harrison; colors by Nelson Daniel; ink assisting by Jolyon Yates; lettering by Thompson Knox
Wild Blue Yonder wastes no time getting readers up to speed regarding the poor state of the Earth. Radiation and pollution consumed mankind’s home on the ground and prompted the privileged to take refuge in the skies; meanwhile, the less fortunate work to supply the fuel needed by those flying high above them.
While life certainly is better for those flying, it is still not a walk in the park. Supplies are running low, and the skies are becoming battlegrounds between the most talented pilots for resources. However, even with fuel becoming scarce, there is still hope. There are rumors of a large aircraft that runs solely on sunlight, making it immune to the fuel crisis its rival aircraft are now facing; they call it The Dawn.
With life in the skies slowly becoming an unsustainable means of survival, The Dawn is a bigger target more than ever. Air-pirates are constantly pushing The Dawn and her crew into riskier situations. One fleet of aircraft in particular has been obsessed with capturing The Dawn for quite some time now. Led by Judge, this military-like group is determined to seize The Dawn and kill anyone who stands in their way of a sustainable life.
Wild Blue Yonder has a great overall storyline, but its attempt at suspense falls short. From the start, readers can easily guess that one of the crew members aboard the The Dawn is up to no good. Perhaps the writers hoped that by having the impending treachery very apparent, the tension would rise as the story unfolded; however, that does not seem to be case. Instead, the betrayal’s transparency makes the confrontation to follow inevitable and expected by the readers; it is simply a matter of when, and let’s face it; there are only so many pages.
Even when the impending confrontation comes to fruition, it is lackluster. Despite being the reason The Dawn finds itself under attack, the traitor is still trusted enough by Cola to help fight the incoming attackers. Apparently the rest of the crew is okay with that too, even though none of them can predict whether or not the traitor will turn on them mid-battle.
Wild Blue Yonder also does not do the main antagonist justice. While readers do get a backstory for the Judge, it seems to come too late in the story. In fact, his history seems rushed since it comes just as he is about to hit the skies for the first time since his accident and “promotion” to commander. It is a shame too because his story gives readers another underlying reason as to why he has been obsessed with hunting The Dawn all these years: redemption.
Despite the lackluster attempt at suspense and a missed opportunity to showcase the Judge’s past, Wild Blue Yonder still does a lot right. The idea of having the post-apocalyptic survivors battle it out in in the skies is an original take that was very enjoyable, especially from a visual standpoint. Incidentally, the artwork by Howard, Daniel, and Yates was one of my favorite aspects of the comic. It was gritty, stimulating, and emotional. Overall, Wild Blue Yonder still deserves a read, so be sure to check it out now that the complete book is in stores.