... unsettling, exhilarating ... a narrative that showcases the full range of the artist’s talent ... Colorist Matt Hollingsworth, letterer Aditya Bidikar, and designer Ben Didier give the book a cohesive, distinctive visual identity, the strength of this art team elevating the story by bolstering its emotional content ... balances the blunt, aggressive force of the military storyline with more introspective and poetic material, giving the book more interesting tonal dynamics that also allow the visual language to shift dramatically ... There are a number of cool visual tricks Bertram uses to alter the rhythm of a scene ... The title text flows on the page with its thin, curving linework, and the symmetry of Ben Didier’s design visually ties the title to the book’s thematic content ... Hollingsworth is an industry veteran with extremely versatile rendering skills and a deep well of knowledge when it comes to using color to take readers on a journey ... pairs creative excellence with consumer value ... These first two chapters are meaty reads, packed with rich ideas and executed with precision and passion. It’s a comic that could be a cool movie in the future, but it succeeds because the creative team values the things that make comic books a unique form of storytelling.
Poelgeest's experience in film has given him a strong feel for the way images can carry a story. Strangely enough, though, he actually relies too much on visuals, falling short in the same ways artists sometimes do when it comes to characterization, dialogue and plot. Fortunately, he's got fantastic artwork to pull him through. The virtuosic Ian Bertram, who draws like a reincarnated Moebius, crafts a stunning array of mythically evocative characters, way-out gizmos, visceral action sequences and intricate, arty compositions for this book. Little Bird winds up being a fantastic example of the artist's role in a comic's success ... That's kind of a shame, because Van Poelgeest's ideas are striking and beg to be developed in more detail ... There are a lot of intriguing ideas here...But Poelgeest writes characters as types, not as people, and invokes the idea of evil without probing its motivations. It's Bertram whose complex and challenging images demand that the reader contemplate the book's themes ... Bertram's work is remarkable, but it's only fully realized thanks to the exceptional artistic team of colorist Matt Hollingsworth, letterer Aditya Bidikar and designer Ben Didier. Hollingsworth creates color associations to underscore the book's nature/technology split, using deep grays and reds in woodsy scenes and sugary, acidic pastels and neons in tech-riddled environments. This implants the book's key theme at a reflexive, visual level: As you turn the page from a prison sequence to one set in the wilderness, your eyeballs relax ... a feat of teamwork, just like a lot of comics are.
With Matt Hollingsworth's colors draping luminous fuzz over every surface, this comic looks better than anything else that's come from its publisher in awhile ... strains of Rafael Grampa grit and Tsutomo Nihei sinew float closer to the surface, and bits of visual shorthand imported from Alejandro Jodorowsky's Incal universe are welcome surprises ... Bertram is less solid with what I consider to be Quitely's most important skill: establishing shots. He's not far off the mark - his wide shots are frequently impressive, well composed with groupings of characters' proximity to one another clearly displayed. But too frequently, the set-ups that these panels provide are left hanging, with turns into the visual illiteracy of action movies and superhero comics, respectively: smash cuts between shots of individual characters, their forms vivisected by the borders of extremely short, wide rectangular frames. This tendency, combined with a too-frequent penchant for dousing scenes in lightly stippled banks of vapor, leaves Bertram's design for his comic's world with a grade of Incomplete. What you can see is intriguing, but the book's events sometimes feel more like they're taking place against the background paintings in an old movie than within a three-dimensional environment ... This is a shame, because in sequences that stick to a more traditional gridlike layout or give their compositions more room to breathe - mostly the fight scenes - you can see a really good cartoonist shining through the fog. Bertram has a genuine talent for really selling the extreme gore Little Bird ladles out ... The writing, however, seems as obscured by haze as the specifics of the world Bertram draws for it ... is a Good Vs. Evil thing of course, with a repressive theocracy's implacable minions intent on hunting down and eradicating a final pocket of superheroic resistance - so every third action sci-fi comic, basically, but without an iota of the personality the good versions of such bring to the table ... I know, I know, it's just supposed to be a fun action comic, but there's also a truly striking lack of any discernible forward momentum in the way Little Bird unrolls its well-worn story. It all just kinda happens, with no emotional affect pointed to or seemingly even attempted ... Dialogue fails to put flesh on any individual character's bones, and the internal monologue/narration in the occasional caption boxes never becomes anything but a distraction ... Worst of all, this comic is intellectually dishonest. Positing Evil as an overwhelming, malevolent force to be heroically defeated is, yes, Part of the Problem.