By Zack Quaintance — I keep waiting for Skyward to feel tedious or repetitive, even a little bit, and it just never does. Simply put, this book has been rock solid from its start, juggling a number of feats I’ve often seen trip up experienced writers and artists, especially those who move from established corporate properties to creator-owned work. These feats include world-building, orienting readers, and establishing a compelling rate of revelation (all of which I’ve discussed in previous Skyward reviews as being strengths of this title). Skyward just seems to blow past every challenge with expert use of structure and craft, remaining ever-charming as it goes.
I’m happy to report that Skyward #7 does not break this momentum. I don’t want to go too far into plot specifics, but this is yet another installment that throws massive obstacles at our protagonist (massive giant bugs this time, to be exact), and then shows the audience what she’s made of as she overcomes them. In the course of her battling adversity, the story also continues to seamlessly world-build, revealing more details about how the environment has changed in the wake of gravity lessening to the point that human beings float into space if they aren’t tied down.
This issue even takes a double turn into horror, first with the giant bugs that come out after nightfall and second with the secret it reveals about our hero’s rescuers. One thing I greatly admire about Skyward is how compressed each issue feels. It’s maybe telling that writer Joe Henderson has a television background (he’s one of the producers of Lucifer), because the speed of the plotting here reminds me of one my favorite network sitcoms, The Good Place. Both that show and this series speed from one plot development to the next, almost recklessly, checking off developments that plodding stories would have lingered on for whole seasons (or story arcs). The end result is a narrative that feels urgent, and, by extension, all the more important.
That’s what I think has really powered Skyward to such effective heights (sorry): this is a story that feels like it has something vital to tell us, some deep secret about society to reveal, and it’s hell-bent on using an intense narrative momentum to get us to that place. If I have one complaint about this title it’s that the side character feel a bit amorphous and I often forget who they are or what their relationships are to the lead protagonist, but, admittedly, this could easily be solved with a brief re-read on my part. It also hasn’t impugned my enjoyment of the main story one bit.
Overall: Another great issue in what has been one of the most solid and surprising new titles in years. Skyward #7, like the six issues that came before it, is impeccably structured and paced, accomplishing some of the best world-building in comics without sacrificing any tone or suspense. 8.5/10
Writer: Joe Henderson
Artist: Lee Garbett
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Publisher: Image Comics
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Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.