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

Wilson-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?

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. 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)

About Robert Tilendis

Robert M. Tilendis lives a deceptively quiet life. He has made money as a dishwasher, errand boy, legal librarian, arts administrator, shipping expert, free-lance writer and editor, and probably a few other things he’s tried very hard to forget about. He has also been a student of history, art, theater, psychology, ceramics, and dance. Through it all, he has been an artist and poet, just to provide a little stability in his life. Along about January of every year, he wonders why he still lives someplace as mundane as Chicago; it must be that he likes it there.

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