Flight Vol. 5

Edited by Kazu Kibuishi
368 pages, color
Published by Villard Books

With each new volume of the Flight anthology, it’s a reason to celebrate. If I had to try and sum up the basic thrust of each book, it’s stories that instill a sense of wonder and excitement in the reader. Almost every single story does that in any volume of Flight, which is why I think it’s one of those books that I simply cannot get enough of.

Some stories are short, sweet, and to the point. Kazu Kibuishi’s "The Courier" takes a simple idea—a message courier who leaps across rooftops and takes to the skies—and makes it just enchanting. It’s a little bit like a mixture of parkour acrobatics and a old-world steampunk acrobatics, and most importantly a strong emotional center. I could honestly read an entire graphic novel of nothing but "The Courier," especially thanks to the dazzlingly beautiful art from Kibuishi. It’s soft but detailed, and feels both incredibly familiar but also just different enough from our own world that you want to see more.

Almost every story has a great hook somewhere, be it in the story or the art. Scott Campbell’s "Igloo Head and Tree Head in Disguise" looks so wonderfully cute that I couldn’t help but grin my way through; the fact that tacos are delicious was a plot point was just icing on the proverbial cake. Sarah Mesinga’s "The Changeling" has a wonderful twist on the old belief of fairies stealing children and replacing them with strange creatures, and her soft art with its gentle glow of color makes the conclusion that much more enchanting. Tony Cliff’s "The Aqueduct" introduces an adventuring duo that makes me want to read more about them, both because of the way they attack problems and new situations, but also because the visuals of fights atop of an ancient aqueduct and crashing sky sailboats makes me want to see more of this world that Cliff has created.

My absolute favorite story in Flight Volume 5, though, simply has to be "On the Importance of Space Travel" by Svetlana Chmakova. A tale of a young girl who tells her classmates that she’s the Princess of Pluto, it’s achingly beautiful in both story and art. I was amazed at how quickly Chmakova makes Jennie such an enchanting character; almost instantly I was in love with her and her struggles with loneliness as well as fitting in with her disbelieving class. By the time I was done, I’d vowed to pick up more comics from Chmakova, it’s just so good. Honestly, this story alone was worth the price of the book.

Be it Dave Roman’s twist on the old chestnut of being the chosen one to save the world, or Grimaldi and Bannister’s sharp ending to a story of two children lost in the forest, there’s a great variety of talent on display in Flight Volume 5. The one thing they all have in common? It’s a fantastic book. We’re five books into this series and each new volume is as refreshing and fun as the previous. Now that’s impressive. If you haven’t read Flight yet, you’re missing out on one of this century’s great comic anthologies.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

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