Feather #1

By Steve Uy
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

For better or for worse, I’d never encountered Steve Uy’s art before Feather. I know he’d worked on the series Eden’s Trail for Marvel, but I’d never really gotten a good look. With the rise of manga in today’s market, it’s easy to have a lot of the recent arrivals in the field fall to the wayside… but in the case of Feather #1, this is one you won’t want to miss.

In a post-apocalyptic world, Sehv desperately wants to fly. Maybe it’s because he wants to be a dragonslayer, hunting the now-extinct creatures that Sehv and everyone else are half-breed descendants of. Except that winged Leeka claims to be a full-blooded dragon, which could be a bit of a problem in their close relationship. When Sehv is given the chance to find an ancient relic that could let him really become a dragonslayer, though, their lives might just change forever.

What surprised me the most about Feather was how sweet Uy’s story was. Looking at the cover I was expecting a big battle between dragons and humans, but instead I found a story about trust and love and discovery. The opening sequence of this issue was an absolute hoot, with a great sense of comic timing that continues just long enough without overstaying its welcome. The rest of the book is almost as strong, with well-placed flashbacks to explain Sehv and Leeka’s relationship, as well as a fast forward movement in story that I was really happy to see. What could’ve been an extremely long story moves quickly without feeling rushed, knowing when it’s time to jump forward and when it’s time to linger. The fact that most of the “linger” scenes involve character interaction over huge action sequences shows Feather‘s true intent, and it’s one that I whole-heartedly approve of.

Uy’s art is going to bring animation instantly to mind, with its vibrant colors and fluid forms on the page. The visual look of Feather quickly establishes this world, with its barren canyons and remnants of technology. I think it’s because it feels really organic, and I’m not just talking about houses built into trees. It looks like Uy really thought this setting through from start to finish, giving it a consistent look and logic about it. Perhaps my favorite creation, though, was Uy’s characters. They’ve all got such innocent looks about them that you almost can’t help but like them. That helps a lot when we see Leeka in flight; she has a great power about her, and it’s such a deliberate contrast to her normally sweet look. Overall, Feather reminds me a lot of the “cinemanga” books we’re seeing where it’s a book composed of animation stills. The difference, of course, is that Feather wasn’t animated.

Feather #1 is a great first chapter in Uy’s new creation; there’s so much care and thought put into this new creation, and it gives the reader a strong hook to want to come back for more. This is the sort of book that will appeal to a wide audience, in the same way that Hayao Miyazaki’s films appeal to all ages. Definitely take a look at this book. Feather #1 is on sale now at better comic stores everywhere.

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