James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas’ masterful fantasy epic Wynd concludes its third volume, Wynd: The Throne in the Sky, with an impressively tied together ending, stitching multiple strands of plot and adventure into a cohesive, and ultimately tragic, finale. Wynd: The Throne in the Sky #5 follows the young “weirdblood” Wynd – perhaps a reincarnation of the ancient “Winged Ones” of Esseriel – as he attempts to outrun both the Faerie and the Vampyres with his ragtag group of friends and comrades. This issue, which ends with a deliciously tragic cliffhanger, is a highlight of the already critically acclaimed Wynd series, and will enthrall fans of the beautiful, heartbreaking story from start to finish.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Wynd: The Throne in the Sky #5!
Throne in the Sky #4 ended with General Zedra ambushing the team of heroes while Wynd was away with the instantly iconic giant Strawberry, attempting to convince him to let his friends go at the advice of the Faerie Meriel. As issue #5 begins, Zedra has captured Oakley, the adopted sister of Wynd, and is using her as tortured bait to bring Wynd to her. While Wynd may still be considered a young adult graphic novel, Tynion IV continues to display a superior talent for crafting gruesome and horrific violence in a way that does not feel gratuitous, relying on the fantasy nature of the series to dampen the nature of the harm in a way that remains impactful.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
As Wynd and Strawberry discuss the safety of his crew, they are both attacked by General Eks and his lieutenant, who are hoping to kill Wynd to destroy some of the hope he has created for a reunited Esseriel due to the rumor of him being a reborn “Winged One”. However, Wynd is able to transform into his bestial winged form by empowering himself using the sprytles hidden in Strawberry’s beard. Wynd’s transformations continue to be masterfully illustrated by Dialynas, somehow making them seem as terrifying as they are beautiful, and the dynamic lettering from AndWorld Designs adds a surreal, magical element to Wynd’s shifting form.
The reunification between Thorn and his bigoted, anti-weirdblood father confirms his deep-held fears from last issue, with his father refusing to acknowledge that Thorn is not a monster, and preventing him from helping Oakley. The correlation between the queerness of Wynd’s love for Thorn – and their adorable recent kiss – works particularly well with Thorn’s relationship with his father, with his father’s reaction to him being a weirdblood displayed as him feeling like he has “lost” a part of his son, a common experience for young queer youth. Tynion IV and Dialynas’ decision to make the oppression faced by weirdbloods in the world of Esserial such a clear mirroring of LGBTQ+ prejudice while including actual queerness in the story is a beautiful way of giving a story an uncomplicated queer romance while also placing the discrimination of otherness at the core of the story.
The conclusion to Wynd: The Throne in the Sky #5 is a brutal and shocking cliffhanger, starting with General Zedra drinking Wynd’s blood directly from his neck, not only incapacitating the young hero but also proving that his blood is special and is able to give a Vampyre back the wings they have lost over centuries living in the desert. Zedra goes on to slice off Oakley’s hand – a surprising piece of damage done to a beloved main character especially after finding out the Pipetown guard Roderick is actually her father – before kidnapping Wynd to use his blood to restore the Vampyres to full power and Prince Yorrick to use as bait against the King of Pipetown.
Personally, this writer loves how slowly Wynd’s relationship to the two “Winged Ones” spotted throughout the series is being slowly teased – with huge hints that they are in fact his parents – and while some readers might want more mysteries revealed in this issue, it feels as though enough moves forward in terms of plot and character reunification that this writer did not feel short-changed at the end of the issue.
In fact, Wynd: The Throne in the Sky #5 is so masterfully written and illustrated by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas that it may be one of the strongest issues to date, and certainly the most enrapturing conclusion to one of Wynd’s volumes. Wynd: The Throne in the Sky’ #5 is an absolute must-read for fans of the Wynd series, and its exciting cliffhanger ending and emotionally turbulent twists will surely keep fans clamoring for the next chapter, whenever that may come.
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