Middlewest #13 is published by Image Comics, written by Skottie Young, art by Jorge Corona, colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and letters by Nate Piekos. While Maggie and Jeb rally the fair to help them confront Raider, Abel and Bobby strive to adapt to their current predicament with varying degrees of success.
After a brief look back at Abel’s younger years, Middlewest #13 picks up where the last issue left off with Abel and Bobby getting introduced to the soul-grinding labor that is tending the ethol fields. In this sequence, Young continues to do an excellent job of fleshing out the character of Raider. He continues to deliver all the cold-heartedness one would expect from a man who’s empire is built on the backs of kidnapped children. Young has imbued this character with a special form of sinister, much more calculating than the unbridled fury we’ve seen from the likes of Abel’s dad. In contrast, Rider’s measured approach bears a sense of unease to it. Young’s writing of the character leaves you bracing for that terrifying moment when Raider actually loses it.
While Raider continues to show signs of being an impressive character, the star in Middlewest #13, as always, is Abel. With all he has been through over the past 12 issues, he’s showing signs of breaking. This internal struggle leads to a beautiful moment between him and Bobby. Young again shows his excellent skills at character writing as he knows just what to make Bobby say. Nothing more, nothing less. She is there for Abel, even when he is incapable of understanding why anyone, let alone her, would be. It is a beautiful moment and one of many I’ve experienced throughout Middlewest.
Middlewest #13 also takes a bit of time to get up to pace with things back at the fair. With Jeb and Maggie preparing to face down Rider to get the kids back, they need to get help. Through their efforts to do so, we see Maggie’s emotional journey continue as she struggles with her sense of culpability where Raider is concerned. The feelings of guilt through tolerance Maggie struggles with are all too familiar to anyone living in our modern world.
While Young’s writing continues to be top-notch, the storytelling of Middlewest #13 wouldn’t be what it is without the continued excellence of the art team. Every tear shed, every cruelty perpetrated upon the kids, and every sympathetic moment is captured beautifully with the panels of this book.
So while Middlewest #13 is, narratively, another setup book for the story, it hardly feels like it. With so much deep character development within these pages, this book does an excellent job of keeping the reader’s attention right where the creative team wants it to be. They put the reader right there with Abel and Bobby in the fields, or with Jeb and Maggie rallying the troops, to truly experience their story and their feelings. It is what fiction writing is all about and Middlewest has always had it in spades.
Middlewest #13 is available December 18th wherever comics are sold and online at ComiXology through our affiliate link.
So while Middlewest #13 is, narratively, another setup book for the story, it hardly feels like it. With so much deep character development within these pages, this book does an excellent job of keeping the reader’s attention right where the creative team wants it to be.