REVIEW: ‘Middlewest,’ Issue #10

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Middlewest #10 is published by Image Comics, written by Skottie Young, with art by Jorge Corona, colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and letters by Nate Piekos. Last issue, Abel was told to travel to the Winter Woods by the great spirit Nokoyuna. There he was told he would find a piece of his past. Middlewest #10 follows Abel through his time in the frozen snow-covered land of the Winter Woods.  He continues to search for a way to rid himself of the storm that brews within him. But what he finds is another challenge to his beliefs.

Middlewest #10 makes us ask an age-old question, Are we doomed to become our parents? Abel confronts evidence that would indicate this may be so. As he learns more about his history and family he must ask questions whose answers he may not like. These questions are made all the more difficult by the nature of the one who causes him to ask them. His grandfather.

As someone who has grown up with a legacy of anger management issues, I understand all too well Abel’s situation. His struggle with the storm inherited from his forebearers is honest and all too relatable. Middlewest #10 explores the multi-generational curse of mishandling emotions and misconceptions of what it is to be a man. The consequences of which are so familiar to many of us.

It is the familiar nature of Abel’s struggle that makes Middlewest #10 so poignant. Abel’s struggle continues to feel real and honest. Skottie Young once again crafts an excellent script. The dialogue feels natural and real. Even though the entire book consists of basically one long conversation, it held my attention better than many harrowing action sequences could have hoped to. This is in large part due to Middlewest #10 focusing purely on Abel. By narrowing the scope of the book down so tightly every moment is given tremendous weight. It feels like the entire world is on the line. And for Abel, it is.

The art for Middlewest #10 is the equal of its script. Every panel feels overflowing with Abel’s emotions. The vivid imagery does not come close to stopping with Abel though. The world around him continues to present itself in tumultuous ways. Abel’s emotional state goes from fear, to safety, and then terror across this issue.  Corona’s art captures every mood perfectly. This perfect visual presentation cements the themes begun with the writing.

The art is also kept compelling through the excellent use of color. Abel’s moments of struggle resonant with the various tones of blue that saturate the pages. When Abel is safe, warm reds and oranges fill the panels enveloping him in a sense of calm. These color selections by Beaulieu give the images a great resonance with the emotions at play, while also completing Middlewest #10’s striking visual pop.

Middlewest #10 continues the level of excellence I have come to expect from this remarkable creative team. This issue challenges both Abel and the reader to ask hard questions about who we are and how we got here. Do we have a say in what we ultimately become, or are we purely the products of our environments? If we strive hard enough can we break the cycles that have plagued our predecessors? I believe we can. And Middlewest #10 has me hoping, with all my heart, that young Abel finds a way to.

Middlewest #10 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Middlewest #10
5

TL;DR

This issue challenges both Abel and the reader to ask hard questions about who we are and how we got here.