Review: Swift

Originally posted on Irish Comic News (12/Sept/2017)

Written by Aaron Fever.
Line art by George Kambadais.
Colour flats by by Niamh Bennett.
Colour art by by Rebecca Nalty.
Letters by Hassan Ostmane-Elhaou.
Assistant Edited by Jordie Bellaire.
Edited by Declan Shalvey.

The comic opens on the morning of Shawn’s (aka the titular Swift) sixteenth birthday. Within the first page we find out that he has a penchant for painting, especially as his first action after getting out of bed is to return to the painting he was working on the previous night.

As it’s his sixteenth birthday, his family have gathered to celebrate the big day. And it’s a big day as his family reveal that they are superheroes. Shawn also learns that everyone in his family traditionally develop their superpowers on, yes you guessed it, their sixteenth birthday!

Naturally as this is a comic about a teen becoming a superhero, it’s a fun comic. Written by Fever, the strength of the writing is in the characterisation of Shawn, his family and the villain. Much of the story is given to Shawn trying to find his place in a family of superheroes. There’s also a certain amount of friction between Shawn and his dad due to their differing ideas on how to be a superhero. Considering that Fever’s previous comic, Frozen Waste, was a more sombre comic it’s an impressive changing of gears to the more upbeat Swift. The dialogue really brings the reader into the story, particularly with the relationship between Swift and his dad.

The line art by Kambadais perfectly captures the spirit of the story. All the upbeat energy of the writing has given form, and it looks great. The art moves effortlessly from family moments to training and superhero scenes. Each of the heroes have a distinct look that gives them their own personality whereas a team uniform wouldn’t be as effective. Two of the pages I really liked the art on were the ‘testing for powers’ montage page and the training page. The ‘testing for powers’ page has no panels but the art is really easy to follow through the page. On the the training page, I liked the use of Swift as a focal point and building the panels around him. Those pages were something that displayed a willingness to get creative with page layouts.

The colour selection by Nalty is bright and energetic, which is exactly what is called for. Plenty of colours that would be prominent on a Saturday morning cartoon. I liked on the ‘testing for powers’ page how the colours don’t end abruptly and instead look almost like brushstrokes that create an artificial panel edge. Also is it weird to be impressed with the colour art on a floor? Because I certainly was with the floor of the training base. It’s the extra bit of work that was put in to make it ‘shine’ (amongst other details) that shows Nalty is bringing as much as the rest of the team to the comic.

Otsmane-Elhaou provides the lettering for the comic. All the dialogue is well placed and easily read. I did like the choice of differing lettering for when the family reveal their alter-egos to Shawn. Much like the costume design, it was an effective way to give some personality to each of the heroes. The choice of font colour for the villain’s dialogue was a good fit considering the powers of said villain. There’s also plenty of sound effects that with some of the lettering really emphasising the effect the word is attempting to convey.

Swift is a fun and charming comic about a young man trying to figure out his place in the family and the world of superheroes. The comic was a welcome break from the more serious type of superhero books I’ve been reading lately. It just revels in the type of superhero comic that it is. When you see the dad’s superhero name, you’ll see what I mean. The comic is a one-shot but I hold out hope that Swift will return one day.

Swift launches at this year’s Thought Bubble.

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