Publisher: BOOM! Studios (Archaia imprint)
Writer/Artist: Jorge Corona
Release Date: 2nd December, 2015
The first original work from creator Jorge Corona, Feathers introduces us to Poe, a young boy living in the slum-like ‘Maze’ who was inexplicably born covered entirely in thick black feathers. During the course of the story he meets Bianca, a young girl who has escaped from the affluent walled city at the heart of the Maze, and the pair form a friendship that keeps them together even as seemingly everything else in their world wants to tear them apart.
First and foremost, Corona does a fantastic job with the characterisation of his two leads, making each instantly likeable yet utterly distinct. For Poe, all he has ever wanted is to be accepted, and to make his way out of the shadows of the maze into the bright lights of the city. For Bianca, all she truly longs for is some adventure, and to be able to venture into the larger world beyond her city walls.
However, with the children of the Maze – cruelly dubbed “mice” for the way they scurry around looking for food – hunted by both the city guards and a mysterious, “pied piper”-esque villain, Bianca rapidly finds out that the grass isn’t always necessarily greener on the other side — something that Poe also discovers for himself. Their friendship endures though, despite their complete opposite personalities and outlook, and their charming, mischievous interactions provide the beating heart of this story.
The tone isn’t all light-hearted and fun, however, with things taking a somewhat darker turn later in the book. It still retains its all-ages appeal, don’t get me wrong, but there are definitely some genuinely upsetting moments along the way, and even a sprinkling of horror as the red scarf wearing “pied piper” reveals his nefarious plan.
Corona’s artwork is lively and energetic throughout, even as he uses a fairly muted colour palette made up primarily of blues, purples and reds, and his character design – particularly on Poe himself – is truly impressive. The children are all wide-eyed and animated, the grown-ups are stone-faced and serious, and the bleak, violent world of the ‘Maze’ is beautifully recreated to provide a stark contrast to the sterile, clean walled city. Visually, this book is an absolute delight, and would be well worth picking up based on that fact alone.
As a collection, this volume flows incredibly smoothly throughout the six issues, with immaculate pacing that never drags or feels rushed. Looking back, I feel like I may have been overly critical in my review of the second issue, where I found myself disappointed by it’s lack of ‘oomph’ compared to the first chapter. This tends to be a problem with most stories when they’re broken down into an episodic format (imagine watching the second twenty minutes of your favourite movie in isolation, for instance), and I just wanted to reiterate that, when consumed one sitting, Feathers is nothing short of an absolute joy to read.
Overall then, Feathers is a charmingly adventurous series that incorporates some of the best aspects from the fairy tales we all know and love to create something truly memorable. I challenge anyone to pick up this book and not find themselves deeply invested in the world which Corona has created by the time they put it down.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]