Graphic Novel Friday: Flight 6

Now firmly entrenched as part of the fantasy comics landscape, the Flight series continues with Flight 6--anchored by recurring regular Michel Gagne, with “Soulmates,” yet another of his wordless adventures in the Saga of Rex. Our cute critter with a crystal in his forehead follows a similar critter through a series of transformations. At one point, they even meld together into a ball that gets shot out of some kind of living volcano, before they go back to their own bodies. With its mind-blowing sense of wonder and dynamic color palate, Gagne’s creation gets volume six off to a great start, even if, at forty-three pages it's a little long for the simple storyline.

Another visual stunner, "Mate" by Andrea Offermann, uses precise-yet-patchwork pen-and-ink to evoke two birds building a nest...out of their own stick-like feathers, until when the nest is finished, the birds are literally husks of their former selves. It's a strange and evocative piece that almost seems out of keeping with the weird childlike cheeriness of much of the art. Also wordless, "Walters" by Cory Godby tells the story of a man who flies away in a chair attached to balloons. It's melancholy and passionate in the execution, with fiery colors and swirling brushstrokes. Dragons either figurative or literal make an appearance, but the emphasis is on the loneliness of the central character.

All three stories are about love, and the search for love on some level, and it seems intentionally so on the part of editor Kazu Kibuishi, since the riotous and deeply disturbed "Dead Bunny" by Nikki Damon and Justin Ridge also concerns a quest for love. The story's too linear but the images are bold and provocative.

Other pieces tend to blend together, seemingly a lot of talk with little of consequence being said--indeed, it seems to me that Flight 6 is in some ways no different from the kid-oriented Flight Explorer series spin-off, and that this mirroring might be sapping some of the energy from Flight 6. Story has never been the strong suit of the series, but some of the regulars that Kibuishi uses are wearing thin. Still, it's a lovely volume in many ways, and firmly recommended for kids, just slightly less so for adults.


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