In a future where the surface of the Earth has become uninhabitable due to radiation, humanity has taken to the skies. Fleets of airships fight it out over resources in an ever-escalating war for survival. Among these is the Dawn, the only solar-powered ship in existence, and the envy – and target – of all those who have to rely on traditional, and rapidly dwindling, fuel to stay aloft.
Wild Blue Yonder is a fantastic miniseries from IDW featuring aerial dogfights, ax-wielding jetpackers, and an awesome dieselpunk aesthetic. I bought the first issue on the strength of the cover, and I’ve been hooked ever since. The series is a Kickstarter success story, and was originally planned to be five issues long. But the creators (writer Mike Raicht and artist Zach Howard) decided to up the ante, so here we are at the sixth, and sadly final, issue.
We pick up right where we left off last issue, with the battle between the Executioner and the Dawn still raging. It’s here that we get a little bit more background on the Judge, his previous attempt to take the Dawn, and how he became the commander of the Executioner. It’s a good bit of backstory, and really highlights what I like about the Judge as a villain: He’s doing what he feels he has to in order to ensure the survival of his people. Sure, he’s stone cold and single-minded, but I think most of us get where he’s coming from. In the end, he has no choice. If he doesn’t attack the Dawn, everyone in his fleet will die. There’s no other way.
Of course, our underdog heroes on the Dawn aren’t exactly going to roll over for him, as they don’t particularly feel like dying, either. Ah, inevitable conflicts where neither side is really wrong – I don’t think I’ll ever tire of you. Although, admittedly, it is easier to root for the family-like crew of the Dawn over the menacing figure of the Judge.
Most of this issue focuses on the conclusion of the battle, which is a thrill to watch unfold. Cola, our ace pilot and heroine, is still reeling from the events of last issue. But she needs to get her head back in the game, especially since the Judge has entered the fray. Not a lot of comics focus on flying – not in planes, at any rate. It’s a fun change of pace to see aerial combat depicted in a comic, especially when it’s done so well. The art here is top-notch. The planes look great, as do the people. And I never get tired of seeing Scram jetpacking around “wreaking havoc,” as he would say.
This book is pitch-perfect to the end. Tired of the same old superhero stuff but still wanting to read stories of danger and adventure? Love planes, especially when the pilots are fighting to the death? Then what are you doing still reading this review? Go buy this comic!
And IDW, if you’re reading this – please give this book an ongoing!