After last month’s controversial issue, Airboy is back for its penultimate chapter. Is it good?
Airboy #3 (Image Comics)
James Robinson and Greg Hinkle find themselves in a steampunk version of World War II. Airboy seems much more confident in his familiar surroundings, while Robinson is completely in awe of it. Hinkle, on the other hand, is crapping his pants… literally.
After a death-defying escape (gorgeously drawn by Hinkle), the creative team meets Airboy’s fellow superheroes, including his volatile girlfriend, Valkyrie. While Robinson and the golden age hero bond over a horrifying/depressing discovery, Hinkle decides to do a little depraved exploring of his own. This results in both men being put in a situation that they likely cannot survive…
Is It Good?
…but probably will, of course.
This issue really threw me for a loop, both in good and bad way. On the good side of things, Hinkle’s art is outstanding. There’s a two-page spread action sequence that rivals any superhero work being put out by Marvel or DC. There’s also a very poignant moment between Robinson and Airboy. Not only is it brought about by an interesting development in the narrative, but it also gives Robinson a genuine moment of reflection that feels like more than just another bout of self-loathing. Add in the colorful cast of new characters, and we might have Airboy’s best chapter so far.
But then there’s the whole thing with Hinkle and Valkyrie. I get that two main characters are supposed to be depraved, but the scene between them felt like it came out of nowhere. It also felt incredibly forced—shoehorned in simply to continue the debauchery of the story along with putting the pieces where they needed to be for the final issue.
It’s jarring enough to detract from the issue’s many strong points (including Hinkle’s wonderful art), but not enough to sink it. It also looks like the series’ final issue is going to be completely crazy…which is really saying something considering how the last three have been.
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