Abel is a teen with a talking fox for a friend and an adventure that awaits them both. Comic mastermind Skottie Young and visionary artist Jorge Corona invite you to get swept away in MIDDLEWEST #1.
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We’ve all heard the saying, “your teens are the best years of your life.” However, this may not ring true for everyone. That leap from adolescence to adulthood can be tricky. From the ingenious mind of writer Skottie Young (I HATE FAIRYLAND, ROCKET RACCOON) and artist Jorge Corona (NO. 1 WITH A BULLET, FEATHERS) comes MIDDLEWEST #1.

MIDDLEWEST #1 is a captivating, creative, and visually stunning coming of age story about a boy named Abel. Just imagine THE NEVER-ENDING STORY meets THE WIZARD OF OZ. It’s a tale about looking inside yourself to find, well, you.

The Story of Abel

MIDDLEWEST #1 is about a paperboy named Abel who lives with his dad in the American Midwest. In their trailer, Abel deals with his abusive father regularly. If that wasn’t enough to sell you on the story, knowing his best friend (or sidekick) is a talking fox should peak your interests. Mix that with a town in the middle of nowhere and the popular trope of dealing with teenage peer pressure, and you’ve got yourself one helluva coming of age story.

Although the first issue falls short on the plot, it does a great job with early character development between Abel and his dad. One of the things we pick up on right away is their strained father/son relationship. We see the disconnect and the distance between them. Abel’s dad is hard on Abel, snapping at the smallest things that Abel does wrong, like oversleeping.

Middlewest #1
Image courtesy of Image Comics

When we are introduced to Abel’s father, he’s waking Abel up. Abel is four hours late to work on his paper route for customers who seem like a cast of ungrateful old people. During this scene, the father throws the alarm clock at Abel. The most significant moment is when we see a damaged picture of Abel with his parents on the dresser. This small panel has such a big impact by conveying a message within the story. His dad damaging the family photo could represent two things: how Abel feels about his family, and the damage his father has already caused. This also hints at why Abel’s mother isn’t present as well.

What’s MIDDLEWEST #1 Really About?

On the surface, MIDDLEWEST #1 seems like your average story about a kid who ends up going on a magical quest. And even though it is, there’s another element to it. It’s about a boy dealing with issues in his broken home and the burden it places on him and his family. It shows us just how much a person can tolerate until you realize enough is enough. And in Abel’s case, he’s running away from his fathers legacy. He sees his dad as a horrible person. Abel wants to do everything in his power to grow up and be better than his father.

Middlewest #1
Image courtesy of Image Comics

MIDDLEWEST #1 does a fantastic job of blurring the line between fantasy and reality. So much so that, at times, it’s hard for the reader to tell the difference. The fact that there’s an unexplained talking fox walking around and is just accepted as normal demonstrates this blurred line. There are a few other critical elements of the story that the next issue is sure to either explain or expand on. Where did the talking fox come from? How did Abel meet him? Why is Abel’s father so Incredible Hulk angry? And what exactly happens to Abel’s father at the end of the issue?

There’s No Art Like Jorge

Surprisingly, I wasn’t familiar with Jorge Corona’s artwork before reading this book. Now that I’m up to speed, I feel like I’ve been missing out. Corona’s art doesn’t just set a great tone for this story, he also brings the characters to life. His artwork gives off a gritty yet wonderful 80’s vibe. He makes the characters feel as though they’ve already existed for years. He shines brightest in this issue for his pages with the cloud monster, which are truly breathtaking.

Middlewest #1
Image courtesy of Image Comics

Where Will The Wind Take Us Next?

Ultimately, I enjoyed reading MIDDLEWEST #1 and would highly recommend this series. Skottie Young has crafted a pretty cool story that gives me the same vibe from some of my favorite films, like E.T. and THE LABYRINTH. Jorge Corona’s artwork blends well with the story. All in all, this was a great issue and I can’t wait to catch up to Abel in issue two to see where it takes him next.

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