Writer: Darcy Van Poelgeest
Artist: Ian Bertram
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Image Comics
My first review for The Comic Lounge was about the first issue of LITTLE BIRD. Now that the story has reached it's last number, I think it's only right to go back and review the whole thing.
''Director/screenwriter Darcy Van Poelgeest boasts a long list of awards and accolades for his storytelling prowess and brings the same writing finesse to Ian Bertram’s breathtakingly detailed artwork in the gorgeous, hyper-detailed miniseries LITTLE BIRD. With the same limitless scope as a new EAST OF WEST or SAGA and the drama and surrealism of Akira, LITTLE BIRD follows a young resistance fighter who battles against an oppressive American Empire and searches for her own identity in a world on fire.''
LITTLE BIRD is the story of a Native American girl who grew up in a futuristic Canada. She has for mission to fight the power of a theocracy, a country ruled by religion.
In this universe, the country dedicated its entire life to the worship of God. Little do they know that a rebellion is growing with the unique goal to destroy the unfair, sadistic system put in place. This rebellion was organized by Little Bird's family who refused to fold and give their life to the worshipers.
The story starts when Little Bird is only a teenager. During an attack by ''God's followers'', she was hidden by her mother. She was chosen to lead the troops of rebellion to success. Every numbers are a step closer for the rebels to win the war. But every number, you learn something new, something dark, about Little Bird’s family and how she was brought to the world.
In my first review, I wrote how this comic was full of promises and how the first number settled the characters for an interesting adventure...
But oh my how I wasn't expecting SO MUCH.
I feel like Darcy Van Poelgeest being a film maker helped him a lot in the construction of LITTLE BIRD. It takes a truly structured mind to come up with a story with so much details and characters without ever losing the essence and the taste of it. The writing is such an advanced level, even months later I am still incredibly impressed. I even surprised myself comparing other comics of similar genre to LITTLE BIRD.
As I said, the structure is everything: it's clear, concise but precise. The emotion is well depicted. The heaviness, the hate, the love, the hope. Through the dialogues and the rhythm of the story there's no dead moment and you are carried in the story with a heart full of emotion, yes, but mostly curiosity: is the end worth all this?
I’ve read the monthly numbers (5 total) one by one. I was scared of being disappointed. I was imagining the classic big triumphant ending like most similar stories have. Yet, it isn't. I'm not going to go in full details, but the ending IS worth it. It is NOT was you will expect. Far from that.
And I guess I should stop saying ''similar stories''. There are none comparable to this creation, bringing me to my second point of why the writing is phenomenal:
The world is chaotic and savage, yet sensible and tender. The theocracy is heinous and horrible, but you will find at times some twisted understanding (Yes. Twisted. Wrong. Dark. Call it what you want but you will see the purpose of the villain. It involves faith and believing in something greater than yourself). The heroine isn't perfect. Darcy Van Poelgeest writes her with this huge sense of pride and honor that will charm you and sadden you at the same time. I was charmed at how he wrote the conflict of religion VS political VS beliefs. I am still not believing how he created a crazy apocalyptic universe while touching at some real, actual subjects.
The characters are another big part of this series. In a time of war, they each have their own purpose and their own path. You will see a little of everyone, without losing track of Little Bird. It takes a strong writer to be able to show a world through an expanded vision instead of focusing on a straight line.
And let's not forget about the art. Take everything I just said about the writing? Apply it on the art. Incredible, right?
The art must be my favorite thing about this series. The inking, the colors, the details, there are just so many beautiful things to look at when you look at the pages. Same as the writing, the art is full of details that showcase everyone, every place... But never loses its focus on the current action.
Speaking of action, the action scenes aren't blurry or doesn’t get you confused. Everything is clearly depicted, and I need to give a special mention to the clothing and the physical aspect of the characters: Ian Bertram and Matt Hollingsworth are able to make this world so ugly and beautiful at the same time. It gives this atmospheric heaviness of the world ending. The characters are portrayed in an original way, with expression and body posture that speaks for itself.
‘’Battle against an oppressive American Empire and searches for her own identity in a world on fire’’ couldn't have been a better description.
A world on fire where opposites are fighting themselves:
The rich, the poor.
The old, the young.
The traditions, the future.
It's a war story. But depending on how, when, where you read it... It can take a different turn, a different message.
If you missed out on the singles, don't worry. The hardcover is coming up in November and you should get it. For the art. For the writing. For the story.