Skyward

Discover A World Without Gravity In Image Comics’ ‘Skyward’ Series

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Recently Joe Henderson, known for his production on FOX’s Lucifer, presented an interesting concept for a comic book. Alongside artist Lee Garbett and colorist Antonio Fabela, the three launched a new series called Skyward under Image Comics.

The premise of this story asks the question: What would it be like if the Earth lost its gravity? A thought that crossed everyone’s mind at one point or another. Still, no one has answered this question as brilliantly as these three creators for the series. Creating a world both devastating and beautiful at the same time.

The series follows the adventures of Willa, someone who only knows a world without gravity. Making a living delivering packages in the city of Chicago. Like every twenty-something year old, Willa has dreams to travel the world. However, she has her father to look after. A shut-in who refuses to leave their apartment after being traumatized from the day the world lost its gravity.

The Day That Changed Everything

The story begins on the day the earth lost gravity. Starting as any normal morning in the home of Nate and Lilly – Willa’s parents. Lilly gets ready to go on a morning run, Nate sits down for coffee and breakfast before work; all while infant Willa is fast asleep. As Lilly takes off, Nate drops his cup of coffee. Only his mug doesn’t break, instead, Nate finds the mug and coffee floating in mid-air. Nate takes in the beauty as he himself starts to float. Hinting he knew a day that low gravity would come.

Skyward
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

Nonetheless, the marveling of this singularity was short lived. As Nate realizes what is happening inside has to be happening outside. Without thinking another thought, Lilly’s well being becomes Nates main concern. Rushing to the door as fast as he could floating in the air; Nate opens the door to a horrific scene. In an event that is known to all a G-Day.

The many tragedies of G-Day 

Skyward
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

People, cars, basically anything that is not secure to the ground takes flight. After a frantic search, Nate finds Lilly holding on for dear life by hanging onto a light pole. Unsure how to find a way back inside, Lilly takes the ultimate leap of faith jumping in hopes Nate could pull her in. Just a moment before they link hands she was hit by a car taking Lilly along with it into the sky.

A difficult decision now awaits Nate. Nate could risk it all to attempt to save the love of his life or stay behind and raise Willa. Without a second thought, Nate rushes over to check on her, only to arrive at an empty crib. Two seconds from breaking down Nate hears a giggle, Willa is floating in the air unaware of the tragedies that had just taken place.

Flash Forward To Twenty Years

Not too many stories can pull off a time jump of this magnitude. Skyward is one of the exceptions, it shows how the world adapts to this new environment effortlessly. The loss of gravity wasn’t the end of humanity in Skyward, it was more like an evolution.

From Skyward Issue 1.
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

We now see an adult Willa soaring through the skyline of Chicago. Here we are introduced to her friends, who point out objects of a world they never knew, such as a school crossing sign. We get to see what she does for work, which is delivering packages. We also get to see who she has a crush on at work, a co-worker by the name of Edison. She has grown a lot since we last saw her as an infant.

The story continues to showcase the beauty of this world, following Willa as she makes a highly important rush delivery. Throughout her delivery, she becomes involved in an attempted robbery and escapes in a clever way involving using a gun to propel her into the sky. This shows the readers a breathtaking illustration of the skyline of new Chicago.

Skyward
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

Seeing this skyline sparks happiness and curiosity for Willa. Creating a want that most twenty-something-year-olds experience. They want to see the world, it’s cities and it’s natural attractions. However, Willa realizes this new dream may not come true. Due to the fact she has to look after her father, who is terrified of leaving the apartment they now live in. Refusing to adjust to this new world after the trauma he experienced losing Lily.

A Way To Bring Back Earth’s Gravity?

Once Willa arrives back at their apartment, she greets her father then proceeds to tell him about her dream of seeing the world. This sparks an argument as an overprotective father doesn’t want her daughter risking her life. Saying:

“The sky kills, Willa. One wrong step means death.”

Nate (Willa’s Father)

Willa then defends her dream saying she has been living outside since she was five and she can handle it. To which Nate replies: “The world is upside down.” Willa Responds: “Tell me something I don’t know.” Then Nate drops a bomb by saying: “I know how to fix it.” Indicating the answer is all written in the journal he his holding.

Skyward
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

Nate proceeds to tell his daughter about the discoveries he and his team made predicting the world they live in now. Also how few believed them when they said: “Everything they knew about gravity was wrong.” Because gravity is defined as: “What goes up must come down.”

However, Willa does not believe these claims her father makes. Given the shut-in situation the man is living in seems to ruin his credibility. She then proceeds to give her father a reality check. She shows him “How can you save the world when you can even stand the light from outside?” Giving her father some advice, before taking off for work.

“Focus on stepping out the door first. Then paying the rent. Then you can save the world.”

Willa Discovers An Old Friend Of Her Father

While Willa vents to her boss – reflecting on her life and feeling trapped – she discovers one of the wealthiest people in the world. That person being Roger Barrow who used to be one of her father’s colleagues. Her boss knew both Willa’s father and Roger and makes an important statement:

“They both new G-day was coming. We all thought they were crazy. Your dad tried to prevent it from happening. Roger… decided to make a fortune from it.”

Skyward
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

Believing Roger could help her deal with her father’s situation, Willa decides to travel to the streets to talk to him. After all, what is the worst that can happen? Not knowing what the streets were like, Willa turns to a friend who cleans houses to some of the wealthy. Gathering as much information as she can before taking the dive.

To a readers surprise the streets are presented as a whole different world to Willa. Yet, it is familiar to the reader. A world in denial as the citizens of the streets use special shoes mimicking the gravity of a world once known.  Exposing a new side to this society, revealing the wealthy now live on the ground, while the middle class and poor live in the high raises.

Skyward
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

Willa not owning a pair of these shoes caused her to stick out like a sore thumb. Resulting in a chase to only be saved by her crush Edison; who gives her a pair of the expensive shoes. Willa still sticks out while taking her first steps ever in a comedic attempt at walking.

Who Is Roger Barrow?

The shoes did accomplish their purpose, however, as she was able to get close enough to Roger Barrow to get his attention. By saying her father’s name, Nathan Fowler, it caused Roger to call off the security detail restraining Willa. As Roger thought his former colleague had passed away this entire time. He tries to get as much information as possible from Willa, pretending to be friendly.

He exposed his true side to a trusted adviser when they asked: “Who is Nathan Fowler?” To which Roger replies:

“A man I thought was dead. Turns out he has been hiding from me for the last twenty years. And now his daughter is going to lead me right to him. So I can strangle the expletive with my bare hands.”

The reasoning for all the hostility has an explanation that corrupts anyone: money. If Nate can restore Earth’s gravity, all of the innovations made by Roger would become obsolete therefore affecting his wealth.

Barrow, More Dangerous Than He Seems…

After trying to convince Willa to take him to her father, it ultimately failed. Roger, instead, took a drastic steps to get face to face with his old “friend.” By locking down her shoes so she is unable to move and violently interrogating her. Until Willa was able to headbutt Roger and she was able to escape.

Skyward
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

Leading into a chase that leaves Willa hiding in a laundry cart; however, her friend that cleans houses helps her escape. This is when she finds out her crush and co-worker Edison is actually apart of a wealthy family. Not telling anyone because he didn’t want his co-workers looking at him differently. After an intense showdown with some guards, Willa was able to escape into the sky. However, when she gets close to her apartment she realizes something is not right. Rushing home to find it a mess.

Skyward
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

Willa & Nate On The Run!

The intruders were not who she expected. They were muggers from earlier in the story, holding a grudge that Willa got away. Nate had the situation under control once Willa walked in. Admitting she thought it was Roger that broke into the apartment. Causing Nate to freak out as Roger could be walking through the door at any moment.

Willa says they need to leave now, but Nate will not step outside the apartment. Admitting to Willa his biggest mistake is not saving her mother and it’s the reason he won’t step outside. Sympathizing with her father, Willa decides to take matters into her own hands. By knocking out her father with a lamp and placing him in a duffel bag. Taking him to the only place she thinks is safe at work with her manager Shirley.

Skyward
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

While explaining to Shirley why her dad is unconscious and in a duffel bag, she was interrupted to shocking news. Her crush/co-worker has been kidnapped by Roger. Roger stating that he wanted an exchange: her father for Edison.

Skyward
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

Unable to make this decision – Willa admits to her father that this is all her fault for wanting to save the world. If she would have never gone to Barrows he would never know Nate is alive. All would be as it was. Which is why Nate decides to take matters in his own hands for once.

By confronting Roger himself. Two problems with this plan. One he does not know how to navigate in this world. Two he took off when a rainstorm was about to hit the city. The thing about a world without gravity is even a rainstorm could be deadly.

Even A Rain Storm Could Be Deadly…

This series does an excellent job of depicting a world without gravity. Touching on concepts one may not think of. For example how weather could be affected. As rainstorms now are not your typical vapor clouds. Instead, they are giant bodies of water floating in throughout the sky.

A body of water that instantly sucks up Nate. Fear of her father drowning, Willa grabs scuba gear and rushes to save her father. While creating an oxygen bubble to create enough air the two form a plan to save Edison and stop Barrows. By drowning him with the rainwater from the storm.

A panel from Image Comics Skyward Issue 4.
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

The story continues and from the looks of the cover art of issue six, the plan was a success leading to the rescue of Edison. As somehow Roger Barrows escaped the body of water and now is holding Willa at gunpoint. Leading to Willa improvising a method of escape she had success with at the beginning of her story. Ultimately, her plan did not go as well as the first time. Sending her flying in the air with nothing to grab onto. Seems like all hope was lost.

Until her father catches her saying “I’ve got you.” Letting her know how proud her mother would have been. He then hands her a book and says

“Read my Journal. I need you to be the brave one. Do what I couldn’t do. Fix what I couldn’t.” Then kisses her on the cheek and says “Goodbye Willa.”

Skyward
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

Before pushing her back into the city. Sacrificing himself.

Skyward The Next Chapter: Exploring An Unseen World

The story arc concludes with the lessons Willa has learned. As she now has a new purpose in life. Saying “I wanted to see the world. Be careful what you wish for. I don’t know if I could do this dad. But I will I have to. For you. For all of us.” As she stowaway in a transport train leaving Chicago.

Panel from Image Comics Skyward Issue 5
Skyward | Credit: Image Comics 2018

Conclusion

After reading the first storyline of Skyward titled ‘My Low-G Life,’ it’s understandable how this series was announced to be made into a movie. Mind you, that was after just three issues! This series is highly recommended due to the interesting concept, the outstanding writing involving character development, and breathtaking artwork which would leave anyone in awe.

The story continues with issue six as the cover art reveals Willa will go face-to-face with giant dragonflies?! This book is definitely one you should experience yourself. As this article serves as a synopsis for the story thus far. For the full experience pick up the first volume of Skyward ‘My Low-G Life’ and issue six is available at local comic book shops and online today.

Comic Contributor

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