‘Feathers #1’ is a truly all-ages tale

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Written and drawn by Jorge Corona
Published by BOOM! Studios/Archaia

If you’re the kind of adult prone to big eye rolls whenever someone praises a kids’ movie because it has a few grown-up jokes wedged in amongst the stultifying cuteness, a cursory flip through the premiere issue of Boom! Studios’ Feathers won’t hold much appeal.

BOOM! itself describes the series as an “all-ages” story, but cease that eye-rolling and give it your full attention because writer/illustrator Jorge Corona would seem to have created something that bridges the kid/adult divide with considerable aplomb.

Issue 1 efficiently introduces us to the world of Feathers. In broad strokes, we have The Maze, a Dickensian urban sprawl where gangs of youthful thieves, known as The Mice, ply their trade. On the periphery of The Maze sits The White Walled City: clearly a place of material privilege.

Hints of class conflict are just one, small part of the complex, but never convoluted, world being set up by Corona. The story begins when Maze-dweller Gabriel discovers a foundling of mostly human appearance, save for a covering of black feathers. A pair of unseen narrators (and a menacingly ambiguous whistling man stalking The Maze) all suggest the foundling is destined to be at the centre of significant events to come.

A decade later, foundling Poe has grown into a Batman-like vigilante figure in The Maze. Inside the white wall, meanwhile, Lord Chappelle is managing the construction of a road through The Maze that we learn is facing resistance from its residents. The Lord’s daughter, Bianca, is intensely curious about the world beyond the wall she’s never seen and this first chapter ends with her on the run in The Maze with Poe as reluctant guide.

Like the story he’s bringing to life, Corona’s work contains multitudes of wonder but also plenty of shadow. He is equally adept in capturing the terror of The Maze by night and the wonderment of Bianca as she sits in a tall tree to gaze out longingly at The Maze.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether all this can be sustained over the course of the series, but there is the promise here of a great story that could prove to be a rare piece of common ground for kids and slightly cynical adults.

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