by Jorge Corona and Jen Hickman
There was a lot of power behind the conclusion of the last issue of Feathers. Jorge Corona has created an incredible universe in this series that feels small in space and simultaneously massive in ideas and mysteries. The worlds of The Maze and The City are both filling out piece by piece as the story is nearing its conclusion. The penultimate issue comes this month and the creators spends the time putting the pieces into place. A few mysteries are still remaining, and yet so much still lies in the shadows. Feathers #5 is a solid issue, even if much of it acts as a preparation for the finale.
The fifth chapter in the series opens with Poe fleeing the city and returning home to his father after a terrifying sequence between he and the citizens on the other side of the wall. Corona has Poe attempt to seek comfort in the arms of his father only to learn that the man who has raised him has a few secrets of his own. The number of reliable people in the boy’s life continues to shrink and he finds himself wandering the streets of The Maze, having given up on those around him. Meanwhile, Bianca struggles to gain the attention and consideration of her parents after returning home. Sebastian and Maria dismiss her constant insistence about the events that transpired since her disappearance and a few mysteries are unveiled at the same time. Corona has only so much time left in the book and there is a bit more urgency in this chapter as a result. Fortunately, the final chapter will not simply be resolution or an epilogue. There are still a number of unknowns. However, for as much as Corona does cover in this fifth issue, the book does feel a bit underwhelming. This is often the case in penultimate issues, as the creators focus on stage-setting for their finale issues.
Still, the authors and artist does an excellent job in capturing the tone and emotions to really deliver some of the strongest sequences of the series. The fallout of the previous issue’s conclusion hits home hard in the opening of this book. Corona does an excellent job creating the atmosphere and sensibility for betrayal and the brutal effects of being different. Poe, or “Feathers,” has been hidden, abandoned, blamed and lied to. The boy’s pain is felt by the reader in this issue as he struggled to find a home and a family. At the same time, the man who has raised him faces the struggle that parents and guardians must stomach and shoulder daily: to bear the pain from the child in order to protect them. The sequence between Poe and his father is not long, but it is quality writing that proves, yet again, the skill of Jorge Corona.
As if his talent in writing was not evident, Corona continues to complement his writing with absolutely stellar artwork. The design and construction of the universe in Feathers has been unique and beautiful throughout the series. Whether the scene and sequence call for intense action, moody quiet or something more sinister and terrifying, Corona has managed to capture it. Added to that is the coloring work from Jen Hickman. The visuals from Feathers are fantastic. There is a beauty in the simplicity of each image. Pages are saturated in color, and whenever the red music notes float through, readers sense the tension rise. Without any clue about the man in the red scarf and his true plans, the way in which Corona has drawn him and Hickman colors the scenes deliver the tone necessary to make readers unsettled. When Poe walks alone through The Maze, the area feels every bit as dangerous as he is always told it can be. And finding Z is not the relief that it may have seemed to be as Poe has fallen right into a trap!
Penultimate issues have a tendency to spend much of the time setting up the story for a grand finale. When read in the monthly format, this choice can sometimes cause the chapter to feel a bit underwhelming. With Feathers #5, Corona and Hickman manage to infuse the book with enough new information along with their excellent storytelling to ensure that the final product is still worthwhile.