GRAPHIC NOVELS

Little Bird. Vol. 1: The Fight for Elder’s Hope

Image. Nov. 2019. 208p. ISBN 9781534313453. $19.95. horror/sf
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This haunting dystopian sf epic by writer and filmmaker Van Poelgeest and illustrator Bertram (House of Penance), with colorist Hollingsworth (Tokyo Ghost) opens toward the end of a long, bloody war between brave Canadian rebels and an authoritarian theocracy known as the United Nations of America. In one last, desperate hope to keep Canada free, a 12-year-old girl named Little Bird infiltrates a prison for genetically-modified humans in order to rescue a legendary hero known as the Axe. Overwhelmingly outnumbered by their enemies and hunted by a sinister Bishop and his meek son, Gabriel, the Axe and Little Bird are forced to travel across Canada in search of allies. Soon Little Bird discovers that the branches of her family tree are much more entangled with that of the enemy than she’d ever imagined, and that the Axe’s heroism is complicated by his desire to atone for past mistakes.
VERDICT While the story seems heavily inspired by European sf epics such as The Incal, it feels totally original owing to Van Poelgeest’s smart and sincere script and Bertram’s fantastic use of jittery lines and intricate detail to depict awe-inspiring landscapes, weird technology, and intense violence.

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