DrunkWooky Comic Review: Wynd #1 (2020, Tynion IV, Dialynas)

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Reader beware, there be spoilers ahead!

Wynd (James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas) is solicited as a young adult fantasy tale meant to inspire readers to boldly take on the world regardless of their adversity or obstacles. Knowing this book is a young adult story sets the tone and expectation for the reader going in.

It should also be noted that this tale is proudly populated by LGBTQ characters and is exploring oppression of the “different” or the “other” much in a similar vein as the X-Men greats and countless other fantasy and sci-fi properties creating the giant upon which we now all stand upon the shoulders of. Tynion and Dialynas are 2017 GLAAD award winners for The Woods, so they have clout in this arena and have some confidence working with non-hetero-normative characters.

When world-building, every writer has a choice whether to shuffle the stage-setting out of the way within the first few pages with exposition, or sprinkle information throughout the introductory pages, issues, and arcs in a somewhat organic way. I believe, and I think traditional wisdom would show that the latter is the preferable route. Thankfully, James Tynion IV chooses that route and the rules of the Wynd universe unfurl as we flip through the pages of this introductory issue. You find yourself reciting interesting revelations to yourself throughout. “Ok, so magic exists, but it’s not acceptable.” “Ah, so there’s a bit of a political divide among the royal family!” “There’s something called the Engineering Corps that keeps the steam-punky element of this magic world going.”

Of course, if you’re going to world-build without massive exposition, there will be unexplained elements to the story. That’s ok as long as the reader isn’t left with confusion. I think Tynion IV strikes that balance here by leaving enough of a kernel of intrigue without worrying you that this will all be a little much to keep track of.

In short, Wynd is a secret known by his sister (?), his employer, and the new chef in his employer’s kitchen. Wynd has magic blood, betrayed only by his pointy ears, covered by his shaggy hair. He slinks around int he secret rooms under the restaurant floorboards, delivering meals to patrons through a pretty whimsical set of hydraulic elevators. Wynd sometimes steals away when he can between diner rushes to take a peak at the castle groundskeeper’s son.

The castle groundskeeper is meanwhile trying to teach his kid the ways of the world. The manner in which we keep magic at bay and his place in the totem pole of this world’s class system. Throughout this issue, a generational divide is set up between the older members of this kingdom and those of Wynd’s vintage. The seeds of change are planted in this first issue. The veil of Tynion’s social commentary is pretty translucent if not entirely see-through. However, the narrative is not a “woke” mallet over the head, yet. I have no issue with progressive ideas and movements, but sacrificing narrative for statement is something that needs to done with skill. So far, that choice trade-off has not been made in Wynd.

Dialynas’ art is stylized, for sure. You worry for a half a second that it may be too cutesy to carry a serious narrative, but then it pulls out some hay-makers and makes you realize we may see some action similar to Rumble and its stylized illustration. I think we’ll still see enough action as this story proceeds to keep readers interested. With Dialynas’ background illustrating TMNT, we would be silly to worry that we’re going to miss out on some fight sequences.

As with all things comics, this may not be everybody’s preferred style or genre of story. For those interested in a new fantasy world to explore, issue #1 of Wynd is a strong and promising start.

Wynd #1 is on sale now and volume 1 of the collected edition is available for pre-order!

Official solicit:

For fans of Once & Future, Isola and Middlewest, the award-winning team of James Tynion IV (Batman, Something is Killing the Children) and Michael Dialynas (The Woods, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) reunite for the new must-read series that shocked the comic industry!

Magical heritage is punishable by death in Pipetown, so a young boy named Wynd must keep his true identity – and pointy ears – a secret from everyone, even if it means he’ll never have the normal life he wants.

But when his secret is threatened, Wynd will be forced to leave his home behind to embark on a dangerous quest that will put him at the heart of a royal conspiracy beyond his imagination.

Now on the run with Oakley (his best friend), Thorn (the boy of his dreams), and Yorick (a literal prince!), Wynd will have to embrace the magic within himself if he wants to save them from the shocking dangers that await!

Every issue of Wynd is oversized, featuring more than 40 story pages.

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