Flight Vol. 5 (Villard)

flight5-header.jpgKazu Kibuishi’s famed anthology series continues to earn its sterling reputation.  

363 pgs. Full Color; $25.00

(W/A: various artists, edited by Kazu Kibuishi)

 

A few months ago I wrote a review of the first volume of Flight Explorer in which I wondered if the introduction of that anthology specifically aimed at children would alter the content of its parent anthology, Flight, in any way. Now, having read the most recent volume of Flight (released back in July), I would have to say that the anthology’s focus might have slightly shifted but that this fifth edition is still true to the roots it established in its previous incarnations.

The stories in Flight Vol. 5 are slightly more grown up than previous collections. Violence is prevalent in several of the stories such as "N." and "The Dragon," and in both of those stories the violence has deadly consequences. However in neither case, nor in any of the other adventure stories contained within the anthology, is the violence gratuitous, just a natural aspect of the plot, and they would still be appropriate for younger readers.

Several stories in the collection were still definitely aimed at an "all-ages" audience. The Jellaby story "Lost" is one such example, as is the story "Disguise" featuring Igloo Head and Tree Head. But adult readers will find incredible charm in each of these stories. In particular, the silliness found in the latter example, though intended for younger readers, is such that older audiences will have a good laugh at it as well.

Click for a larger image.Meanwhile other stories have content or deal with subjects that skew a little bit older. "Evidence" deals with a man’s dog digging up skeletal remains and the man having to dispose of them in another way, implying with its title that the man is covering up a crime he has committed. "The Changeling" involves an unwanted pregnancy and how such scenarios were dealt with in a previous era, while "Two Kids" features a young girl running away from her parents because they are getting a divorce. Younger children might have problems digesting some of this subject matter, but still the stories are in no way inappropriate for them. In fact, due to the manner in which each story approaches its subject-"Evidence" with humor, "The Changeling" with fantasy elements, and "Two Kids" with its child protagonist’s point of view-they would each be excellent ways to expose children to these sensitive subjects for the purpose of further discussion.

Each story will hit or miss with readers depending upon their personal preferences, but there is literally something here for everyone to enjoy. Even stories that didn’t appeal to my interests as a reader were still of the utmost quality. The highlight of the collection for me was "Beisbol 2" by Richard Pose. At over forty pages long, it is one of the longest stories in the collection, and it is a beautifully drawn, very heartwarming tale about the passion sports can invoke in fans and players alike. Joey Weiser’s "Timecat" is also highly recommended for any cat lover.

If I had to quibble with anything in the anthology, I would complain about the lettering in "The Dragon," which seemed a little sloppy to me, too amateurish. Also the artwork in the final story "Seasons: Frank and Frank" was a bit overly simplistic, with its repeated backgrounds and its thinly sketched characters. But those two problems are very minor and are only really noticeable if you’re looking for something to criticize. All in all, Flight‘s reputation as the premier comic anthology remains intact, as this fifth volume is virtually perfect. | Steve Higgins

Learn more at http://www.flightcomics.com!

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