Comic books are such a special medium, molded from imagination, formed into whatever the writer wants and whatever the artists can bring to life. With the seemingly unlimited amount of choices for content it’s easy to write a story that has a lot of action and adventure but it’s becoming harder and harder to write a story that truly captures a reader’s imagination or hits a tone that resonates with them. Mindless action and lighthearted adventure can be seriously fun and sometimes it’s exactly what a reader needs, but once in a while a book can have a all that and hit an emotional cord as well.
Willowisp grabs me in the feels right away. I admit that this fact is driven by the extreme similarity to the main characters situation and something that happened to me recently. The main characters, Noah and his father, are moving to the home town of their mom/wife who recently passed away. I lost my mother almost a year ago. I know this is an extremely rare circumstance but I’m sure that the small plot point hits hard with anyone that has lost, mother or otherwise, and is a seriously effective way to gain the reader’s trust and ensure there is an emotional connection. Noah is an effective protagonist because of automatic feels he evokes and as the story persists and his nature as a curious and witty teenager emerges he really solidifies his place in the story. Most of the story is centered around Noah as he navigates a new town, makes new friends, dealing with the death of his mother as well as his dad and slightly racist uncle, and of course some magic happenings that involves the cute boy he’s interested in. The magical aspects are revealed early on but then Bisignano brings it back to Noah and his story. All of Noah’s story and the magical aspects collide in a satisfying cliffhanger so the reader will be sure to want to pick up issue two.
Bisignano’s art has a pleasant style that I would compare to a cartoon style but with slightly more care taken to the unique style of Noah and the other characters. Some of the panels are incredibly detailed and Bisignano makes some of the scenes really pop with backgrounds and a great color pallet. There is one particular panel, that has a house in the woods with Noah’s uncle standing on the porch waiting for them, that really captures the feel of the little town that Noah has been moved to. The woods and the house are meticulously detailed and look fantastic, but really all of the buildings and a good majority of backgrounds are detailed carefully and with thought and love. Although most of the details are brilliant to look at I think the coloring is what really pulls it all together. There are nice greens and lighter colors but in the night scenes Bisignano puts a nice bluish tint to the night. It’s a very wise choice because I feel like it makes the night scenes pop and adds to the mystic of the magical element.