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Flight Volume 5    edited by Kazu Kibuishi order for
Flight Volume 5
by Kazu Kibuishi
Order:  USA  Can
Villard, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

With four previous successful and praiseworthy books in the anthology series, it is no wonder that Flight Volume Five would find its way into readers' willing hands. With dazzling and diverse digital art coupled with fantastical and whimsical tales, this series has done exceedingly well at seducing a large range of readers from young to old, from avid comic fan to neophyte.

This collection lives up to the standard of previous editions with an interesting mix of new stories and those that build off previous pieces in the series. For instance, the opening story, The Broken Path by Michael Gagne is part of the serial named The Saga of Rex. This series follows the exploits of a Rex (a fox-like creature) as he explores the mysteries of a strange magical universe. Aside from the colorful creatures and places that are present throughout this story, The Saga of Rex is told solely through panels; no words are present and yet readers young and old can follow this beautiful and complex tale.

Contrast also plays a pivotal role. For instance, to follow up Reagan Lodge's The Dragon (mixing samurais, scientific monstrosities, and sweet yams), Kibuishi chose Beisbol 2 by Richard Pose. This is about the destruction of a young boy's admiration for his baseball idol. After his idol humiliates him, the boy finds new inspiration from a quiet and lesser known Cuban baseball player who challenges the arrogant ballplayer. Such different stories, yet both offer hope and pleasure in reading. Also of note is the artistic contrast of Joey Weiser's iconic and cartoonish Timecat, followed by the beautiful painting-like stills of Kness and Made's Voyage.

Despite being digitally created, some stories still appear artistically derived from more famous artists. JP Ahonen's Worry Dolls seems to draw some of its style from Robert Crum, while the previously mentioned The Dragon invokes Frank Miller's sometimes chaotic and hectic panels. Undoubtedly, as many have remarked about previous volumes, this is a beautiful anthology. Eyes could skim the text and just marvel from page to page about the artwork with its vibrant and intermingling colors.

If a fault can be found, it's in the lack of introduction, either to the anthology as a whole or to specific stories. This isn't necessary in the initial reading, but readers would find it interesting to get a larger perspective on the work and its origin. However, this is a small issue to consider, given the power and delight in the rest of this volume.

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