Little Bird lives in a world somewhere between Miyazaki and Jodorowsky, between Princess Mononoke and The Metabarons, between Native American mythology and religious nationalism, where nature and science together create a sort of magical reality in which anything can feel real.
The story takes place in the future, or maybe an alternate past, it’s hard to say, but war has ravaged much of the land and a weird, deranged, power-hungry version of the Catholic Church has taken control in America. Before the collapse, a woman dressed in war paint and wearing versatile armor, simply known as “mother” in this first issue, hides her daughter, Little Bird, from the atrocities about to happen. Afterwards, she must go on a journey herself to complete a mission and bring back a hero to take back their land from the New Vatican.
The story is breathtaking in scope for a number of reasons, and this is just the first issue. The first reason is Darcy Van Poelgeest’s scripting is tremendous. The dialogue is beautiful. She gives each character, even characters that turn out to be minor, equal weight. Because of this, you’re unsure which way the story will go, and so it breathes. This first issue is like watching a newly birthed creature take its first breath, filling its lungs with as much life-giving air as it can.
The second reason is due to Ian Bertram’s art, which is beautiful and disturbing surrealism. He swings from the grotesque to the mythic. He penciled 2016’s House of Penance which was a dark trip into the mind of a woman haunted by guilt. Why Alejandro Jodorowsky hasn’t reached out to him, I don’t know.
Matt Hollingsworth’s colors are breathtaking. From desolate, war-ravaged landscapes to hypnotic, snow-covered mountainsides, to trippy sci-fi entrenched spectacle, these worlds release these characters from the prison of the page.
I strongly recommend this book. I have a feeling this will be one of those few true gems this year.
Creative Team: Ian Bertram & Darcy Van Poelgeest (created by), Darcy Van Poelgeest (writer), Ian Bertram (artist), Matt Hollingsworth (colors), Aditya Bidikar (letters), Ben Didier (design)
Publisher: Image Comics
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