If there is a way to make a profit off of tragedy, someone will find it. SKYWARD #2, by Joe Henderson, Lee Garbett, and Antonio Fabela, examines this sentiment by continuing to explore the world of Willa Fowler and the social ramifications of G-Day. While most face the terror of low-g Earth each day, there’s a small group that can ignore the danger. That’s because if you have enough money to spare, you can pay for your own gravity.

SKYWARD #2 picks up with Willa Fowler right after her father reveals that he knows how to restore gravity — and the world back to the way it was. Where SKYWARD #1 focused on the father-daughter relationship that G-Day transformed, SKYWARD #2 begins to show how the rest of the world reacted.

Leave Your Gravity at the Door in SKYWARD #1

SKYWARD #2 Shows How G-Day Affected Society

SKYWARD #2 spends a good deal of its story sharing information. Yet it’s not just exposition without a purpose. SKYWARD #2 reveals three different legacies of G-Day from the people who lived the moment.

In a stunning shot that opens SKYWARD #2, we see why some people live in fear of the open sky after G-Day. There is a ring orbiting the planet of the bodies and objects lost to the sky. The dark fate of the quiet apocalypse is best represented in Willa’s father, Nathan. He refuses to leave his apartment because of fear. This conflicts with Willa’s adventurous disposition.

Willa’s father is still trapped in G-Day. Image courtesy of Image Comics.

The story then explores the attitudes of those who live with low-gravity daily. This is Willa’s world — one that has adapted and flourished despite the danger of low-g existence. Here, fear turns into cautious respect. Willa’s manager at her courier job corroborates this. She mentions traveling to Chicago after G-Day. “So many just floated up and never stopped,” she says. She implores Willa to be sensitive to her father, something that our carefree protagonist ignores.

Finally, there are those who can afford to ignore G-Day. When Willa learns her father worked with the scientist who profited from the low-g shift, she descends to the city streets of Chicago to talk to him. Here, the rich can purchase technology that lets them ignore the danger and worries of low-g Earth. So when she arrives with knowledge about someone who could change the society they’ve come to love, Willa discovers she is not welcome.

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Willa Fowler Continues to be Fearless

In SKYWARD #2, Willa still treats the low-g world with an attitude of invincibility and insouciance. In other words, she’s the perfect young adult.

Willa’s carefree attitude helps her remain a proactive character who is able to change the world around her. She’s not afraid to chastise her father, who would rather have her safe (but secluded). She evades and bests aggressive bouncers; she even approaches one of the wealthiest men of Chicago with complete and utter candor. Her lack of fear is her greatest power, and she leverages it at every challenge she faces.

Willa tells her father exactly what she thinks. Image courtesy of Image Comics.

But that’s just it. Willa has yet to face a problem that she can’t overcome with her attitude. This makes sense — again, it’s the second issue (2 of 15 planned) — but I would like to begin seeing her challenged by the story. Challenges will force her to change and grow as a character, and although I sense this is coming, SKYWARD #2 lacked any meaningful obstacles for her. This was a bit of a letdown, but not so great as to change my enjoyment of the comic.

The Art Soars Again

And that’s because as a visual treat alone, SKYWARD #2 triumphs. Lee Garbett (art) and Antonio Fabela (colors) give life to the gentle destruction wrought by G-Day. In the most stunning shot of SKYWARD #2, we see the scope of that destruction in the details present. I’ll let the image speak for itself:

The moving, two-page splash of Earth’s top strata — a ring of death, cold and lifeless. Image courtesy of Image Comics.

And as a particular guilty pleasure of mine, I’m always a fan of lighting done well. In Fabela’s colors, we see the depth of space, the darkness of the skyscrapers, and the neon ostentation of the wealthy ground society. Indeed, the moment Willa starts moving around the social gathering, the whole environment is cast in a red light — the traditional color of danger and warning. The dangerous tone evoked by that pallet choice highlights Willa’s aloof countenance and body language — and that was a really nice touch.

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Final Thoughts on SKYWARD #2

I am still excited to keep reading SKYWARD. The series’ world and characters feel fleshed out and interesting. Willa, as a protagonist, has plenty of room to grow — which will be fun to watch. Most of all, the art excels at telling the story and showing beautiful panel spreads. But as an individual issue, SKYWARD #2 did not feel as strong as the first.

SKYWARD #1 told a very personal tale through the eyes of Willa’s father. The drama was surprising yet relatable. SKYWARD #2, however, focused on the world and not the characters. I think it’s as simple as that.

Of course that’s not to say that the plot wasn’t interesting. World-building opens the imagination of the reader, and I will happily read SKYWARD #3. Furthermore, I imagine that SKYWARD #2 happened the way it did because it’s setting up something big. And I can wait for that.

SKYWARD #2 by Joe Henderson (script), Lee Garbett (art/cover), Antonio Fabela (colors), Simon Bowland (letters), Rick Lopez Jr. (editor)
SKYWARD #2 seems to complete the necessary exposition of this new series by introducing the readers to the rest of the world. Not only do we begin to see the human cost of the cataclysmic G-Day (through phenomenal art) but also how others have turned a profit on the tragedy. Yet despite the intrigue brought on by new information, Willa’s character continued unchanged and unchallenged by the events of the comic. Will that change in the next issue? Probably -- but on its own, SKYWARD #2 felt a little weaker than the first issue of the series.
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