Little Bird #1
Writer: Darcy Van Poelgeest
Artist: Ian Bertram
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Design: Ben Didier
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
Little Bird #1 takes us to a post-apocalyptic future (?) where a Canadian resistance is fighting against the theocratic United Nations of America. Just before her small village is slaughtered, Little Bird is given instructions by her mother to go free a prisoner and former hero who could be the last hope of saving the resistance. Meanwhile, her mother is imprisoned by the New Vatican and reunites with a former-friend-turned-foe.
Little Bird, for being just a five-issue run, has all the feelings of an epic quest similar to the likes of Saga. We have a near-poetic narrator voice that guides us through this first issue, and the battle between the resistance and the theocratic empire gives this story grand-scale, world-wide implications.
Sci-fi that mixes in political and religious commentary, when done well, is amazing to witness; think Battlestar Galactica or The Expanse. And for being a non-linear, sometimes trippy story, Little Bird still keeps the reader grounded and able to follow along. Sometimes, when creators choose to take more artistic license in storytelling, it can get confusing, but Little Bird maintains that balance well.
So why do I still feel confused after reading this book? After the first issue, I’m not sure exactly which characters I’m supposed to care about. And it appears the person we thought we would be focusing on is now out of the picture.
When I finished the book, I honestly didn’t come away feeling any connection with the characters. It’s almost there. There’s clearly a complicated history between the warrior mother and the religious zealot. The imprisoned hero seems to have lost faith in himself, while so many others believe in him. Why didn’t this story connect with me?
As I said, commentary, when done well, is a real treat to the consumer. As a reader, I’m usually looking for escape from the current reality, but if there are bits and pieces in the story that allow me to draw parallels between the story and present-day events, it becomes the next thought-provoking story that I feel I need to recommend to anyone and everyone. When present-day events are shoved down my throat without any subtlety, it’s distasteful and doesn’t hold my interest at all. Why would I read this book when I could just read the news instead?
That is why I feel Little Bird lost my interest, coupled with the fact that a first issue, non-linear story doesn’t give me the confidence that I know the who, what, where, when, and why of the story.
The artwork is captivating and reminds me of Maurice Sendak mixed with an ancient North American flare. If you are not a fan of violence, you might want to turn away from this book. It has some of the most gruesome violence I’ve seen in a comic book — to the point where the gutters between panels are filled with gore, but it’s done in a weirdly eye-catching way.
Verdict: Wait and see.
It’s hard to get a complete grasp on the story after one issue; I feel this will work much better once the trade comes out. It tries so hard to be like Saga, but ultimately trips over its own ambitions.