Overview

Flight Volume Five

Review

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Flight Volume Five

Credits

  • Words: Various
  • Art: Various
  • Inks: Various
  • Colors: Various
  • Story Title: Various
  • Publisher: Villard Books
  • Price: $25.00
  • Release Date: Jul 23, 2008

We’ve all come to expect certain accolades when it comes to the Flight series. In the visually exciting category, this one does not disappoint. In the something for everyone criteria, this volume doesn’t drop the ball. In the compelling read arena, volume five was as always some of the best comics out there.

From the morality on display in “Beisbol 2” to the humor of “Igloohead and Treehead in Disguise”, this book was just as wide ranging and pleasant as the preceding books in the series. Kazu Kibuishi has once again found the cream of the crop to put on display in his tomes. Perhaps the most astonishing feat with this edition is that the high profile artists aren’t present. Past volumes have seen the likes of Jeff Smith, Becky Cloonan, Bill Plimpton, and other artists considered to be the top talent in their respective fields contribute. Of the artists who are returning to the series here, I am not familiar with any of them. This means that expectations can be lowered, but there is no reason, as the book is just as good as any in the series.

The longest and possibly most accomplished story is “Beisbol 2”. Richard Pose once again brings his love of baseball as seen through the eyes of young Jason as he attempts to get every Kingfish player to sign his baseball. He only needs one more, the superstar of the team, Bopper. It is through the actions of Bopper and Sanchez that our young protagonist learns a valuable life lesson about what it means to be a hero and how to keep your dreams alive. It is the kind of thing that would make a wonderful Disney short and Pose once again shows that influence in his art.

Kibuishi throws a story in the pot as well. His “The Courier” is also focused around the dreams of a young man. The nameless character thinks he wants more out of life than his courier job provides for him. This means that the story is supposed to be about his last job, but through the joys of his day to day work and the package he delivers, he may have to rethink his decision. As always, Kibuishi’s round lines and simple yet effective storytelling are a highlight of the book.

The most imaginative story in the book also deals head on with dreams. “Worry Dolls” by JP Ahonen seems to be a pedestrian story about a guy who is down on his luck, but when he uses the present his girlfriend leaves him it moves into one of the most imaginative stories about little people controlling a big person I have ever seen. The worry dolls are busy defragmenting their client’s memories, he threatens to wake up. The three dolls have to figure out how to keep him safe and get him back to sleep before he wakes and goes crazy from their work. It is funny and smart. The Freak Brothers-like art in the exposition quickly moves into a more cute and cartoon friendly style. The balance between the familiar and unusual technology is an interesting dynamic.

Many of the stories play on tropes that have been established. The Pink Panther-like “Evidence” by Annabele not only plays on the idea of an obnoxious animal, but makes the impatient human a little more sinister. The evil baby stealing faeries of Mending’s “The Changeling” serves as a cautionary tale of sorts for urban myths. Phil Craven sets the world’s cutest Ninja on a deadly yet heartwarming adventure in “N”.

Then there is the unreliable narrator of “Big Dome: Flowers for Mama”. Paul Rivoche uses the art to give a little deeper truth to the story that the hero, one Myles Preston Thackery III, relates to his mother about her missing and belated birthday gift. The fact that the artist uses a Darrow-like line in a very much Eagle like story makes all the high flying high jinks all the more fun.

Then there are the simply charming stories. Kean Soo continues his fan favorite Jellaby. Michael Gane continues The Saga of Rex. However, there are also new tales that are rich with likeable characters. “Two Kids” features Bannister’s art as Grimaldi weaves a story of two very different reasons for being alone in the woods. Dave Roman’s “The Chosen One” features a story that crosses the best elements of Ed Grimsly with the cute and imaginative Bobby’s World.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Flight volume if there wasn’t a story or two that just knocked you out visually. “The Dragon” by Reagan Lodge has a thematic structure and character designs that are very reminiscent of Mulan, but the way that the artist uses light and darkness to sharply contrast each other makes the story of a desolate town at the end of its luck pop with vibrancy and even through the down trodden nature of the piece, one still feels a hope at its end.

Flight has consistently been the top graphic anthology for several years now. Kibuishi and his contributors should be proud that they have pretty much single handedly made a whole segment of the comics world not only more competitive but better and more popular at the same time. I highly doubt that this week’s Comic Book Tattoo or next week’s Popgun Volume 2 would have seen the light of day without this book and its flights of fancy.

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