WYND #1, available from BOOM! Entertainment on June 17th delivers the story of a magical, LGBTQ+ teenager who hides his identity from forces that want to purge Pipetown of magical beings. James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas have crafted a new story that’s a mix High Fantasy, a dash of Steampunk, and current year coming-of-age all in one.
Michael Dialynas’ cover is a strong encapsulation of the titular character’s free spirit and energy. In the story, Wynd chooses to live among the humans but likes to run a little wild when the opportunity strikes. Since Dialynas also drew the interiors, the art is as consistently light and optimistic as the story itself.
Tynion IV’s story is an original concept that leaves you with more questions than answers. It sets up the world, the characters, and the social conflicts deftly while still leaving you wondering, “How did we get here?” and “Where are we going?”. Wynd, the titular character, is of magical heritage, and any magical being is forbidden from living in Pipetown. Banning magical creatures is apparently the result of some past conflict – possibly a war – that’s mentioned but never explained. Wynd hides his pointy ears to “disguise” his magical origins so he can remain in Pipetown and live out his days in peace, working at the local diner as a busboy.
The straight-forward premise is further complicated by Wynd’s affection for the son of the royal gardener, Thorn. Affection might not be the best choice of words here because in actuality, Wynd regularly goes off to ogle the sweaty, shirtless Thorn from a nearby rooftop using a telescope. It’s an understandable move from somebody who’s wrestling with their identity in more ways than one, but it’s still a creepy move on its surface. It’s unclear if Thorn is even aware of Wynd’s existence, and Thorn clearly expresses some level of affection for the Prince, as the two have been friends and confidantes for some time. This pseudo-love triangle is flawed, but made all the more relatable and realistic because of its flaws. That said, the ages of the characters are undetermined, and depending on the panel and page, Wynd looks like a young boy barely over twelve, making his ogling habit, and the overall romantic aspects of the story, a bit uncomfortable to read.
Does the story work? It’s tough to say with just the one issue. It’s certainly well constructed with organic dialog, but the future potential of the plot is unclear. I will say that I’m intrigued to see where Tynion goes in issue #2. Keeping a reader to hooked enough to see what happens next is the best compliment for a #1 issue.
Dialynas’ artwork is light, colorful, and playful. It’s very reminiscent of reading a child’s book, although the subject matter is not wholly for children. Regardless, the child-like, verging on cartoonish designs of the characters infuse the story with elements of whimsy and innocence. It’s the type of artistic style that would likely translate very well to film and fit right in with Netflix’s The Dragon Prince or The Seven Deadly Sins.
Regarding the main character, Wynd, his design is innocent and impish without any hint of mischief. From the first panel, you know something deeper is going on with Wynd’s magic, but he doesn’t know what it is. (Yet another question for the reader to hold on to for the next issue.) But at no point is Wynd threatening to the ones around him. His facial expressions and overall demeanor smack of a teenager trying to figure himself out.
While Wynd is imminently relatable and likable, there is one aspect of his design that didn’t quite make sense. The townsfolk are on the lookout for magical beings, identifiable by their pointy ears. Wynd not only has pointy ears, but he has chalk-white skin and deep navy blue hair. In short, pointy ears are the least standout aspect of his design. If the townsfolk were truly watching out for somebody “weird,” Wynd wouldn’t make it two steps outside his home before getting tagged. In isolation, Wynd’s design suits the design of the world well. Contextualized in the plot of the story, it doesn’t make much sense.
Dialynas’ coloring is likewise perfectly suited for the world Tynion built. Blue skies are bright and cheery. Wynd’s chalk-white skin reflects the shades of his surroundings — going from neutral white in the sunny outdoors to dreamy blue in the nighttime panels. There’s a lot of attention being paid here to the assortment of flesh tones and shading on each character, and it pays off.
I’m always awed when a letterer finds a way to visualize a sound effect for something that doesn’t actually exist, and yet, makes you imagine that the sound is accurate. Aditya Bidikar’s lettering pulls off just such a feat with unique sound effect lettering that underscores great imagination. What does it sound like when you hit a gryphon with a crescent wrench? I have no idea, but the lettering for those sounds are in this issue, and it completely works.
WYND #1, out now, is a promising start to a completely new property. The art is whimsical and fun, and the story starts a lot of threads that begs more than a few questions. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the next issue. Would recommend.