Twig is a new series by writer Skottie Young and artist Kyle Strahm from Image Comics whose identity seems closely knit with the creature design of Jim Henson. The first issue was a cute concept for younger readers that introduced an incredibly visualized world. Things are looking bad for the main character, Twig, in the second issue as his quest has stalled. Can he figure out what the quest is and pull it off, or will his late wake-up in the morning spell doom for all the world?
Twig is a funny sort of young person’s comic as it doesn’t hide the fact that death and fear are parts of life. Twig #2 opens with a burial and a bit of sadness, but Twig and his bud Splat aren’t giving up so easily. Sure, the guy who died was going to give Twig his quest which was super important, but that doesn’t mean Twig and Splat can’t figure out how his insanely complicated job spits out missions!
That gives Strahm plenty to work with. Gizmos, strange jars of magical stuff and contraptions are all used to figure out what Twig’s mission could be. This leads to a wonderfully symmetrical full-page spread of what must be the threats Twig will face along the way. Given how impossible figuring out what the mission could be, it’s incredibly hopeful reading this issue and seeing how our heroes don’t give up.
Tucked away in the narrative is another message to kiddos, and that’s to not wake up late! In a key scene, Twig comes across a very odd character who is a bit scary and Twig fully admits his tardiness may have caused everything to snowball. That snowball leads to quite a cliffhanger that should take all the fantasy elements of this series to another level.
Another theme present for kids and adults to reflect on is Twig’s desire to make his father proud. In one key scene, we see it’s on Twig’s mind that his father would be upset with how he performed in this story. We also get to see Twig play a game with his father, showing they had a healthy relationship. Pairing these thoughtful lessons is a world rife with life and worthy of exploration. There’s a lot of youthful joy and fun in every panel.
Speaking of fantasy elements, Strahm does incredible work with creature design and environments. The creepy necromancer character introduced later in the issue is a good example. He’s equal parts creepy and unnerving, but also a bit fun with his moth-like fury coat and jeweled eyes gracing the coat. There’s a sense of darkness to him, but also a forced smile as if his costume is trying to say he’s friendly on the inside. Twig’s expressions add to the experience since he is reacting to a lot of the fantastical elements as we would.
Jean-Francois Beaulieu colors the issue to perfection as well. A scene involving Twig’s dream is made angelic due to the heavenly light. Flashbacks have a cool color change that separates things well.
Letters by Nate Piekos have a sureness younger readers will likely appreciate. Word balloons tend to be a bit boxy, giving the words inside a sturdy feel. Even the tails on the word balloons are made up of straighter edges.
Twig #2 is even better than the first issue, fleshing out the fantasy world and the many oddities within it. Twig is quickly becoming my favorite original fantasy series since The Dark Crystal. It’s a joy to read.
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