DC Comics did G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Peker's new on-going series a serious disservice when it previewed "Air" in its other books from the Vertigo line. The disjointed pages excerpted from the first issue did little to convey the charm of this tale of air travel through the not-so-friendly skies. Now the first five issues of "Air" have been collected in "Letter from Lost Countries," and it's an introductory volume well worth picking up.
When acrophobic flight attendant Blythe becomes intrigued with Zayn, a mysterious male traveler of indeterminate national origin, she helps set in motion a violent on-board incident that culminates with her and the stranger jumping from the plane with only one parachute between them. After Blythe recovers from her minor injuries, Zayn leaves on a mission to Bangladesh, only to disappear in another presumed air crash. A letter with a return address from Narimar, a country that appears on no map, gives Blythe hope that, with the help of two co-workers, she can rescue her lover, wherever he is.
Wilson and Peker are the team behind the Vertigo black-and-white hardcover "Cairo," and they seem to be developing a comfortable groove for their first monthly series. Blythe is a good antidote to the usual Vertigo heroine. She's complicated but not kooky, she's a genuine adult, not an angsty teenager, and she seems free of the usual daddy and mommy issues. The antagonists are little over-the-top and too on-the-mark in their dialogue, not to mention too fond of explaining their nefarious plans exactly where they can be overheard. At the ends of the fourth issues, though, Wilson and Peker stage a reveal that pushes the premise of "Air" in a promising and unexpected new direction.
I'm not sure I'll become a regular reader of "Air," but I'm sufficiently impressed by "Letter from Lost Countries" to keep that possibility open.