Feathers is a new comic from Archaia, both written and illustrated by Jorge Corona. The story follows a mysterious boy born covered with feathers, and an adventurous princess who years for excitement in her pampered mundane life.
The issue opens in the past as we see our feathered protagonist, named Poe, as a baby. Two unseen characters discuss what’s occurring in an enigmatic fashion as narrators, before we jump forward to modern day. After that tease we now find our feathered friend scurrying across rooftops and assisting a group of hungry children. The rest of the issue is split between his expoilts and those of princess Bianca.
Corona’s art is one of the best parts of the issue. With stylised characters there’s heaps of emotion behind each expression. One character looks back with worry as they flee pursuit, another grins with wide eyed wonder at oncoming possibilities, with lesser art the issue just wouldn’t be anywhere near as involving. You can tell exactly what each person is feeling with just a glance. It isn’t just characters where Corona gives his all either, he litters scenery with background clutter and little details that flesh out the atmosphere of the world in every single panel.
Speaking of the world, the setting for the story is a dense city slum literally called the Maze. Tight alleyways and twisting streets make up the Maze, it’s cluttered nature gives it a lived-in quality and lets you really immerse yourself in the book. Here Jen Hickman absolutely deserves credit for some fantastic colouring work, bringing dingy and gloomy shades that further sell the Maze as a rundown and dangerous place to live.
Although Feathers is a 6 issue mini, I could easily see this being a world re-visited in future. In the opening pages of the issue there are plenty of hints about where things are going, beyond just setting up the status quo, so we can see there’s a plan in motion already. Admittedly the premise of the story does feel a bit familiar on the surface. There’s some definite Aladdin vibes here, with a princess jaded with palace life and the plucky young boy who travels the rooftops and pesters the local guards. Despite this I felt that Feathers still carved out its own identity and really owns its own space, it doesn’t read like a tribute. The glimpses we do get of the wider story hint at something much more ambitious and intriguing than re-telling a familiar tale.
If you’re wondering if Feathers is okay for kids then I can happily say yes. For context, there is absolutely nothing here that you wouldn’t see in a Disney movie. We get a glimpse of the villain who is admittedly a little spooky, but he’s no scarier than Jafar or Maleficent for example. Meanwhile both young protagonists are energetic characters that kids should have no trouble relating to.
As an opening issue Feathers #1 does a great job. It’s a fantastic looking comic with likeable characters and a lot of fun moments. There are also a handful of hints to make sure you’ll want to come back for more. It’s absolutely worth a look.