REVIEW: Skyward #4 by Joe Henderson, Lee Garbett, Antonio Fabela, & Simon Bowland

Skyward #4 is out July 18. 

By Zack Quaintance — The first issue of Skyward opened with an inciting event that drastically changed the world: gravity inexplicably lessened so much that people, animals, and untethered objects began to float dangerously into space. One of the victims was our protagonist’s mom, who left to go running and disappeared into the ether.  

This was then followed by a significant time jump in which our main character went from baby to young woman. Quickly, we also learned her dad had become a devastated recluse who spent the subsequent years afraid to go outside. That idea kind of faded into the background, however, as our hero went and had adventures involving the most powerful man in the gravity-light world, who—surprise!—turned out to be amoral and self-interested. What this issue does is slow down our hero’s interactions with that insidious fellow to involve her dad in a way Skyward hasn’t since its first issue.

It’s a great idea. The father-daughter dynamic is basically this story’s heart, and given the dad's reluctance to go outside, overcoming that fear is presumably huge for our plot. On paper, I expected to love this issue. I, however, had slightly mixed feelings about how it was executed (very slightly). I still liked it quite a bit, but the dad was over-the-top cowardly at times. This was likely by design, but, man, did I cringe.

And his daughter’s reaction to his behavior seemed to be too much, in that she didn’t seem troubled at all that she had to literally knock him out and put him in a bag to get him outside because he wouldn’t step up when she needed him most. All I'm saying is it would have maybe been more effective to have a troubled look cross her face instead of playing the whole heartbreaking ordeal for laughs. But then again, Skyward is a pretty cheery book.

It’s a small complaint, one quickly erased from my mind by the creative team working to explore more of the scientific ramifications of how less gravity would affect our world. The art and structure continues to be on point and then some, too. I’ve said it before, but I want to close by again re-iterating that this is one of the most underrated books in comics right now (although that may change...this month Skyward was optioned for a movie...awesome!).

Overall: Skyward #4 continues to take a simple concept and explore its logical repercussions in the world, a device that has been executed to perfection. In this issue, the creative team slows down a bit too, making room for more interactions between its characters.  8.0/10

For more about Skyward, read our review of Skyward #3.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.