I’ve been really excited for Wynd for a while. James Tynion IV’s been putting out some phenomenal work across publishers, with Something is Killing the Children, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Justice League Dark all entering my list of favorite comics of 2019. His work with Michael Dialynas on The Woods was fantastic, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating their next book together.
Wynd had been teased for a bit before it was announced to be releasing as a series of Original Graphic Novels, a format that I feel should be explored more in the mainstream comic market. The first book of Wynd was set to release in November of 2020, and while it was going to be a tough wait, I was confident that it would be worth it.
Then, a global pandemic happened. Comic magazine distribution (bottlenecked by a single distributor) shut down for two months, and we got stuck in a weird limbo of no new content and everything getting pushed back significantly. In this confusing and tumultuous time, BOOM! Studios surprised us all with an announcement that Wynd would now be releasing in single issues rather than as a graphic novel, at least for the first portion. This is definitely exciting, because it means that we get to read this book early, but honestly I can’t help but feel like something was lost.
That’s not to say the book isn’t great — it is! It’s atmospheric and both Tynion and Dialnyas do an excellent job making sure this idyllic-looking city maintains its constant sense of discomfort, and the sinister bigotry that lies underneath the surface. There’s a constant sense of tension and fear from the very first scene that continues throughout the entire story, making Wynd’s secret feel like a matter of life and death. There’s the obvious queer allegory here — people who are just a little different, but have to hide what makes them different for fear of persecution. The language that Tynion uses to evoke these feelings is really striking, feeling incredibly familiar to sentiments in the real world — bigotry can’t hide its ugly face, even in fantasy.
I can go on and on about Dialnyas’s jaw-dropping art. The colors make the entire book pop, but everything about the artwork is fantastic, and I mean this in the most literal definition possible. The world through Dialnyas’s lens is one of wonder, but also one of fear. There’s not a single scene that doesn’t feel fantastical, and all the characters are memorable. The art style works incredibly well for the book, and Dialnyas clearly has a great chemistry with Tynion. The entire book feels cohesive and with a unified vision.
Wynd‘s biggest failure is that it was intended to be released as a complete graphic novel, and the pacing does not work in a single issue format. Not very much happens this issue, and while it’s understandable given the publishing shakeup, it does lead to this portion of the story feeling underwhelming. I’m sure that by the end of the first book’s worth, this will come together really well, but as a standalone single issue it’s worth criticizing. But honestly, when the biggest complaint I have with the book is “there’s not enough of it,” the creators are doing something right.
Wynd is definitely a book worth looking at, but if you’re able to wait for it to be collected, that’s probably your best option. I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment.
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