Hallowed Be Thy Name (Little Bird #1 “The Fight for Elder’s Hope, Chapter One” Comic Review)

Created by: Ian Bertram & Darcy Van Poelgeest

Written by: Darcy Van Poelgeest

Art by: Ian Bertram

Colors by: Matt Hollingsworth

Letters by: Aditya Bidikar

Design by: Ben Didier

“We had a plan. Free the Axe. Save the people. Free the north. Save the world.”

A perfervid theocracy controls most of the United Nations of America from their headquarters in New Vatican. Little Bird lives in one of the last strongholds of the resistance, her mother leading the movement. We join her as her mother is readying to lead her people into battle. Little Bird is hidden out of harm’s way with very particular instructions and the promise from her mother that she would return.

She doesn’t.

Three days later, Little Bird emerges from her hide to find her home in ruins—everyone dead or disappeared—but she knows what to do.

Free the Axe. Save the people. Free the north. Save the world.

The Axe is in the Northern Guard Penitentiary for Genetically Modified Beings, which is scheduled to be razed to the ground by The Army of Twelve the same day Little Bird embarks on her mission to carry out the plan. She enters the compound in the skin of a wolf and steals a guard’s security credentials (which happen to be his bionic arm that he had removed and left unattended on a table). By the time he realizes and catches up, she has found the block where the Axe is imprisoned and they fight their way out together.

While all of this is going on, Little Bird’s mother, Tantoo, who was captured in battle, has been facing the Vicar of Christ himself. We are treated to a great deal of history regarding the relationship between the Vicar and Tantoo, the Vicar and powers higher than himself, and a mysterious character we have yet to meet: Gabriel.

All signs point to a long and bloody road.

My Two Cents: Darcy Van Poelgeest, primarily known for his work in film, has shifted gears admirably in his writing of this piece, and artist Ian Bertram has managed to capture Van Poelgeest’s undeniably cinematic style of storytelling. There are no abrupt changes in this book—every transition (in time or place) flows on from the previous panel, taking us with it. The same can be said for the narration, which doesn’t interfere with the dialogue or the scene. Bertram uses angles to their best effect, showing us views and minutiae that would be lost in straight on or full profile panels which gives the book an immersive feel. Add to that Matt Hollingsworth’s inspired coloration and to a degree you feel the story: the temperatures, the emotions, the movement. This creative team has gifted us a violent, visceral world with a compelling populace and a heart-wrenching conflict. Little Bird is going to be a thoroughly wild ride.

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Elizabeth Fazzio
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org
Elizabeth Fazzio
Summary
Little Bird is not a book for the faint of heart—or, for that matter, the sensitive of stomach. I'm serious; if you're squeamish you might want to sit this one out. On the other hand, if buckets of gore and endless entrails are your jam, you're going to be in heaven. As an example, the Vicar of Christ has a covey of floating, childlike minions who are heads, hands, feet, and viscera, held together by robes, and they are terrifying. (Which, of course, is the point.) Honestly, this excess of carnage could be absolutely pointless, but the story is so compelling that the bloodiness is anything but gratuitous—it is there for a reason, and I can respect that. I don't like to use the word 'gritty' to describe creative works because it has become a blanket term for anything with a darker leaning, but there is an overall quality of grittiness to Little Bird. It has a layer of grime coating it, almost as if we are viewing it through a dusty lens. Even the theocratic figures who seek to cleanse the world of heretics, et-zealous-cetera, seem to have a scummy film clinging to them. Even it its first issue, Little Bird has presented an enormously layered plot, and I'm sure we have plenty of yarn to follow before we exit this labyrinth.
Good
  • Texture in the art
  • Art and story blend seamlessly
  • Story elements are balanced
  • Good use of angles
  • Layered storytelling
  • Varied and interesting universe inhabitants
Bad
  • There are occassional moments when there is so much going on that you can get a little lost in the images.
8.8
Great
Art - 9
Story - 9
Writing - 9
Predictability - 8
Written by
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org

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