Middlewest #9 is published by Image Comics, written by Skottie Young, with art by Jorge Corona, colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and letters by Nate Piekos. In this issue, Abel gets help from an unexpected source while Bobby comes to a momentous decision.
That unexpected source arrives in the form of the Nowak. Introduced briefly at the end of Middlewest #8, the Nowak discover Abel’s curse. Referring to it as “The Heart of a Storm,” they seek to aid Abel in gaining some control over his situation. The visual design of the Nowak is exactly what it needs to be. This is a group that has lived in isolation for centuries and their design makes them feel both a part of and apart from, the world of Middlewest. With a gorgeous visual that gives them a feeling of unity with the natural world, they stand out among the contraptions and gizmos of the carnival and other locales we’ve visited.
This series has been an emotional rollercoaster ride. And while I have thoroughly enjoyed that ride, it was a welcome change that Middlewest #9 slows down the emotional pace. This allows the characters a chance to get their bearings and figure out their next steps. Skottie Young’s writing works as the characters go through these moments wonderfully. The blending of humor and warmth is marvelous. A particular interaction between Bobby and Wrench that truly captures the best that friendship is – playful, supportive, and just a touch argumentative at times.
While I enjoyed the writing, as always, this time it was the art that truly stole the show. Jorge Corona’s art captures the imagination. Many new concepts are introduced to the world of Middlewest this issue and Corona’s art breaths real life into each of them. Each one feels perfectly fitted into its place with care. This is further brought out with the issue’s use of color.
Jean-Francois Beaulieu brings that final colorful touch to Middlewest #9 perfectly. There is a wonderful back and forth between scenes of light and dark that create a sense of balance to the visual presentation. Within these scenes, though there is a further nuanced sense of balance due to its color. Green fireflies light up dark spot, while bright skies are balanced with dark trees. The color choice feels natural and striking. It would be easy to go too striking and leave the pages feeling overly dramatic. Or too bland and let it all bleed together. These issues are happily avoided and strike that aforementioned balance in its panels. Without it, Middlewest #9 could’ve easily devolved into simply being a bridge issue.
With all these elements coming together Middlewest #9 serves as an excellent slow down moment for this story. It gets the characters where they need to be, while also avoiding the feel of a boring bridge story. Middlewest continues to be a beautiful, fantastic journey of self-understanding and discovery. And I cannot wait for more.
Middlewest #9 is available in comic book stores everywhere now.
Middlewest continues to be a beautiful, fantastic journey of self-understanding and discovery.