G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker’s Air: Letters from Lost Countries

cover, AirBlythe is not your typical airline attendant. Sure, she’s blonde, pretty and personable, playing into every conceivable stereotype there is. But Blythe is much more than that. For starters, she’s acrophobic, surviving each flight only through the wonders of modern pharmaceuticals. Then there’s the attractive, mysterious passenger she’s fallen in love with, who may or may not be a terrorist. Not to mention that because of him, she’s become involved with the rather violent Etesian Front, who claim to be an anti-terrorist group, but may be little more than vigilantes. So when her beloved disappears, then sends her a letter from a country that isn’t on any map, what’s a woman to do? If you’re Blythe, you pack up, enlist the help of trusted friends, and go find him, maps be damned.

Blythe manages to find the lost country, tangling herself and her friends further with the Etesian Front – and with the still shrouded plans of Zayn, her enigmatic lover. Even after escaping back to the “real” world, Blythe discovers that more is at stake than simply Zayn’s life – the future of the world hangs in the balance, with her employer, Clearflight, on one side, and a group represented by the Etesians on the other. All in a day’s flying, right?

G. Willow Wilson‘s stellar narrative works in not just a forgotten land, but also Aztec mythology, mysterious technology and a long lost aviator. The story is unpredictable, engaging and impossible to set aside. Blythe herself is simply marvelous. No shrinking violet, despite her crippling fear of the sky, she’s also not a stereotypical “plucky heroine.” She’s flawed, but also intelligent, resilient and someone readers can readily root for. Zayn remains a mystery, his precise motives unknown (volume two, due out later this year, looks to explore his background in more detail). The supporting cast – fellow attendant Fletcher, boss Renee d’Artemis, mercenary John Northfield – don’t get as much screen time, but still make their mark. M.K. Perker‘s art is also top notch – be sure to check out the gallery at the back for the many looks of Zayn!

Air is off to a very promising start that will hopefully continue to deliver in subsequent volumes.

(Vertigo, 2009)

Aptil Gutierrez

Since last we met our intrepid book reviewer, April Gutierrez, she's moved halfway around the world to the land of the rising sun. Home is now Fukuoka, the largest city on Japan's west-most main island, Kyushu. The Japanese boast of their homeland's four seasons, but April recognizes just two: Granrodeo tour season and ... the rest of the year. During the former, she's running around Japan from Hokkaido to Okinawa, mixing sightseeing with awesome rock concerts. The rest of the time, she's busy exploring shrines and temples closer to home and regretting she has but one stomach to offer up to Japanese cuisine.

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