Writer: Zhou Liefen with adaptation by Greg Pak, Greg Pak and Alyssa Wong / Artist: Keng and Pop Mhan / Marvel
There are two very different reading experiences within the pages of Aero #2. In the first half, you have the English adaptation of a Chinese comic with highly stylized action sequences punctuated by moments of deeply personal anecdotes. In the second half, it’s almost the reverse: frantic displays of power followed by long stretches of exposition of familiar stories from yesteryear. There’s a balance struck between the solo story of Aero and the joint journey of Aero and Wave that just resonates.
Aero’s solo story is a bit heavier on the flair, as she continues her skirmish with an animated skyscraper. Liefen’s narrative as adapted by Pak uses this issue to demonstrate exactly how powerful having the ability to manipulate air can be and it leads to some truly spectacular displays. Keng shows air currents and hurricanes and dynamic gestures that gracefully guide the reader’s eyes throughout the issue. And to generate the necessary breath, Liefen creates these moments of pause with some carefully placed exposition that give a little more insight into the life and history of Lei Ling. It’s cleverly down and very fun to read.
Meanwhile, Aero and Wave’s adventures start out with a similar sense of flash before shifting into a much slower gear. Even if Wave’s name isn’t on the cover, it’s very clear that this section of the comic is dedicated to her, and by extension all of the kids from the Philippines and those of the Filipino diaspora. Learning more about Wave naturally means learning about her hometown, and that sequences of her extended family coming to greet her struck a chord to when I accompanied my mom to her hometown many years ago. It was instantly familiar, endearing, and really showcases the beautiful moments that happen when you have diverse creators writing diverse character. Alyssa Wong’s contributions to Wave’s origin story are steady and apparent and the work that she and Greg Pak are doing is pretty invaluable in my humble opinion.
Aero #2 is a steal, with two very different stories in one comic. It has something for all audiences and if you enjoy any of the creative team’s previous works, you owe it to yourself to pick this up this week.
9.2 “Constructs” out of 10
Reading Aero? Check out BNP’s other reviews here.