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Air Vol. 3: Pureland
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 10, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Blythe is learning to control the airplanes and is helped along by her mentor, Amelia Earhart. Blythe is also headed towards the ground, tailspinning in the emotional and physical confusion of her life. She will need to confront her past, her missing lover and the the strange world she lives in, if there is any hope for making it through this incredible journey in one piece.

When I read the first Air graphic novel, I loved it. I liked the element of mystery, weirdness and light heartedness in the first one. The second one lacked some of the mystery that was present in the first one. This one did a little better but still didn't live up the first one. In fact, as a graphic novel as a whole, I would say that it is good but not great.

Much of the details within the novels isn't given and instead is left for the reader to puzzle out. Everytime I read one, I am left with questions or fuzziness about something. I didn't mind the questions after reading the first one but now I would like answers. Yes, answers are coming but the characters aren't really developing. Blythe is doing what she must do but that isn't really making her a stronger character. I guess that isn't fair really. She is growing and she grew a great deal more in this one then she did in the previous one but I was still left with question. I want to know that if Zayn disappears if things will only deteriorate again. She seems to start coping with things when is his around or at least some part of the picture and the moment he is out, she can't deal. The adventure is still there though which is what saves this graphic novel for me as some of Blythe's problems were just bothering me.

So, while I enjoyed Air: Pureland, I didn't find it amazing. It gets 3.75 stars.
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on June 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
The third volume of G. Willow Wilson and M. K. Perker's peculiar little Vertigo comic arrives in stores, a little fatter than the previous two collections, which were both five issues apiece; "Pureland" is a full seven issues long, #11-17 of the ongoing series following the adventures of Clearfleet flight attendant Blythe Alice Cameron (whose name is three first names strung together). For those who have followed the series through its first two volumes and enjoyed them (and if you haven't done so, I would strongly advise picking up this one first, as you would be completely lost; frankly, it's been a while since I read volume 2, so it took me a moment to orient myself again), "Pureland" represents an enjoyable continuation. Some spoilers follow.

The first two volumes of the series introduced quite a few different concepts: the hyperpraxis engine, which allows planes to fly without conventional fuel and offers the prospect of a post-fossil fuel world; a bunch of different agencies out to acquire it; a flight attendant named Blythe with the power to fly one of the hyperpraxis planes; a mysterious Middle Eastern love interest with potential terrorist ties; a secret world in the skies; a single-issue flashback to Aztec times; and Amelia Earhart. It's an odd, eclectic book, and if I have one real criticism of "Air" it would be that, 17 issues in, I still have only the vaguest idea of how all this stuff fits together. By now, you'd like to have a firmer sense of the series' mythos' basics. That aside, this volume brings us a couple of semi-distinct stories, the longest of which involves Blythe investigating the backstory of her mysterious love interest Zayn. She ends up in Pakistan (the "Pureland" of the title) in the middle of a shootout between the Taliban and a squad of metalhead Muslim patriots (let that sink in for a minute). A lot of this one feels a bit irrelevant to the main, but it does deliver up some explanations for Zayn.

Indeed, Blythe and Zayn's relationship is the main focus of this volume, as he finally sticks around for a while to try and explain himself. G. Willow Wilson ends up giving Zayn a bit more emotional vulnerability than one commonly sees from men in action-type storylines (particularly since it's a sort of sexual vulnerability, the sort of thing that generally happens only with women; men are expected to be stoic about all this). The closing segment also gives us more time with the not-dead Amelia Earhart, who's written very endearingly. Blythe's issues with pharmaceuticals could perhaps have been given a bit more time than it was (buried in a bit less strange symbolism). All of this is terrifically illustrated by series artist M. J. Perker, whose presence throughout allows for the comic to create a very familiar, consistent-looking world. Wilson is, as previous noted, juggling a lot of strange stuff here, and delivers a world that feels oddly both realistic and extremely off-kilter.

Recommended for those who enjoyed the previous volumes.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I'm not 100% sure why I've stuck with Air through 3 collected volumes thus far. It's been consistently "chick-lit" throughout. Perhaps, I'm hoping my wife will stumble across it's winsome yet empathize-able heroine on the cover, leaf through it, and gateway drug herself into more interesting comics in my collection.

Air isn't too challenging but it can be murky at points. It strays painfully into romance novel levels of cliche. Sadly, it also shows a female stereotype propigating disregard for realism and technical detail that will turn off readers mired (like myself) in rationality. I don't mind fantasy in a modern setting but it isn't a license to overlook basic elements of realism in storytelling. Even if you have a personal jet that is powered by your psychic ability to manipulate reality you still can't plop it down in the mountains of Afghanistan and take off again without mention of something. "Oh, I used my poorly defined reality manipulating powers to make myself a runway and give myself years of piloting experience". Throw us a bone here.

Also, the cutesy attempts by the author to insert berka wearing/green mohawk having Muslim terrorist fighters in volume 3 was hard to stomach and fathom.

I hate being one of those f'ing comic snobs who wags on and on about the various high masters of the art up on the mountaintop. It's as irritating as the jazz aficionados who have no time for up and coming players and wax on about coaltrain and davis etc.
And I really have tried to like Air (3 volumes no less) but I can't do it. If you're interested in metaphysical modern fantasy with a strong female protagonist try reading "Promethea" by Alan Moore.
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