Middlewest #11 is published by Image Comics, written by Skottie Young, with art by Jorge Corona, colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and letters by Nate Piekos. Reeling from his confrontation with his grandfather last issue, Abel finds himself in a fragile space. As a result of his frustration with the world, Abel chooses to lash out. No matter who happens to be the target.
We’ve all been there. When life steps on us just one too many times. When our brightest hopes get dashed on life’s rocks too hard. And due to this seemingly unending abuse at the hands of the world, we lose it. We yell, scream, and hurt all those around us. Middlewest #11 captures this moment with painful clarity as the world let’s poor Abel down one time too many. To complete the realism of the moment Abel lashes out at the one being in his world who deserves it the least; Fox. Fox’s only mistake is trying to be supportive of Abel but unfortunately for Fox, Abel is in no mood. When Fox presses him to open up, Abel does the exact opposite. The ensuing the altercation is painful to see.
To witness this meltdown between friends hurts so much and while it plays out almost exactly as one would expect, it loses none of its poignancy from it predictably. This only serves to further highlight Young’s grasp of emotional storytelling. While innovation is generally appreciated in creative works there are scenes you just don’t need to mess with. Scenes like these resonate naturally with the emotions they portray. To fight the flow, or try to put a twist on it would only dismiss the power of the moment.
As has been the case throughout the series, Corona’s art only serves to enhance the emotion infused in Middlewest #11’s story. The most impressive part of the art is how Corona balances the way Abel presents his anger. Abel can literally turn into a destructive rage storm that can topple a town. But, even with this immense amount of power, and rage, Corona remembers Abel is still a kid. Abel keeps his arms thrust down his sides, with his fists tightly balled. Coupled with those scrunched up shoulders and you get an image of any child you’ve ever known. Corona put Abel’s age front and center which is crucial to reminding the reader he is just a child.
Corona also gets to stretch his muscles a bit in Middlewest #11 as the issue features an abrupt change of scenery. With most of the story taking place in rural, or outright wooded areas, Middlewest #11 gives us a first look at a city. Even if it is just a rundown and messy, a failing heap of buildings and people. It is all too appropriate that this is the chosen site for this issue. The locale works perfectly to frame Abel’s breaking apart.
While Middlewest #11 doesn’t reinvent any storytelling wheels it serves an exquisitely told narrative beat that is timeless. The creative team beautifully highlights that it’s ok to go with a classic story by giving the moments all the time they need to properly come together.
Middlewest #11 is available in comic book stores everywhere now.
While Middlewest #11 doesn’t reinvent any storytelling wheels it serves an exquisitely told narrative beat that is timeless.