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Feathers #4

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by Jorge Corona and Jen Hickman

Feathers has been wonderful from the very start. Jorge Corona’s original work with Jen Hickman is a gorgeous work of fiction that is exhilarating and impressively developed on each level. The story of the boy Poe, a misfit even in a society of outcasts finds ways to add excitement in every issue. Added to it is the excellent art work and design of the book, with beautiful coloring by Jen Hickman. Last time, the kids had found themselves surrounded while Corona continues to seed in a nefarious B-plot. In issue four, the plots jump forward and Feathers remains as impressive as ever.

The leader of the mice, Z, was out to get revenge on Feathers. The boy, really named Poe, has been the assumed center of the disappearance of many of the mice in the town outside of the wall. Poe, the unassuming and well-meaning protagonist, was attempting to help the girl, Bianca, find her way back home before being handed over by Z. Corona brings the many sides together in this one location, allowing the space and the tensions to explode into pure chaos. The scene is certainly inevitable, but the suspense of the action and the subsequent chase are excellent. As the plan backfires on Z, the children take off into The Maze in hopes of using “home turf” against the members of the guard. The restrain on the number of panels on a page helps the excitement of the entire situation be ever more impactful as the reader will jump from one page to the next tracing the action. But it is only when the heroes let their guard down that the other shoe really drops.

Since the very first issue, Corona has included pieces of a secondary plot that have been incredibly unsettling. Only in glimpses and quite opaque, this B-plot has not had much progress or focus in the series thus far. Even still, it only takes a panel or two or the swirling red and black notes to make an impact. Somehow, with no context at all, the man in red and black has been a fascinating and chilling story running along behind the adventure of Poe and Bianca. As if the intrigue about the Wall, the origins of the two towns and the present state that leaves the two sides so heated divided aren’t enough, Corona has also managed to include subtler and even less clear story pieces like The Guide and, here, with the man in black and red. Corona’s simplistic but effective capability as a story-teller has led to fantastic world building. Though the universe in Feathers is quite small, there is so much intrigue generated in every chapter.

Another wonderful element of the story is the art. Focusing on why the pieces that are simply teased have been so effective leads to just how well constructed the design is for Feathers. The construction of the pages, flow of the panels and character depictions all play a major role. In a fantastic moment, finding the captain annoyed that the children have escaped his grasp, Corona places the man in an excellent pose. He stands poised, though the arrangement of his face, in conjunction with his stance capture and communicate to the reader his exact emotion. Added to it is the excellent coloring of the story, and Jen Hickman makes the decision to leave the towering figure partially in the shadows. The fourth issue of Feathers is filled with moments like this one. When the man in black comes around, the scene is filled with dancing musical notes first. Finally, when he is facing down on Poe, the only facial feature that readers are offered is the white slit of the figure’s eye, leaving the rest of the panel drenched in black and red. The art design for Feathers is absolutely phenomenal.

The final pages of this story are definitely unexpected. Just as readers think they might finally learn more about this mysterious figure, the story shifts and offers an entirely different new problem. It is unclear just what is going on in the final moments of Feathers #4. One thing that is certain is that Poe has found his way into a brand new type of danger. With only two issues left, readers of this series will be counting the days for the next piece of this story.

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