Wasteland #23 (Oni Press): Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten deliver another beautiful issue that hums with the perfect blend of violence, mystery, and the sociology of The Big Wet universe. This issue continues further examination of the Dog Tribes, with arranged marriages, duplicitous dealings, and more satisfying plot threads than you can shake a Ruin Runner’s walking stick at. There is a brief exchange of dialogue between Abi and Michael that, for me, captures in one little snapshot the swagger and attitude of Wasteland. Abi blurts out “But we can’t just leave him here! He risked his life for us!” Michael’s only response is a neutral “So?” We’re reminded that this is a bleak, unapologetic reality, with no constants, other than the creative team’s consistent delivery of quality. Another scene gives us a simple and prosaic set of wedding vows. “This is Banner, son of the Stone Claws, of good breeding and healthy stock. He will hunt for you, and protect you, and sire your pups. He will love you under the moon.” In this harsh setting, maybe that’s really all you need; life, your very existence, is distilled down into those basic necessities and reassurance of them constitutes a bond. Moving on, Michael offers what is surely a red herring explanation of his supposed former visit to A-Ree-Yass-I. The misleading nature of this untrustworthy narrator only underscores the strength of the mystery, in that truly so few know so very little about the fabled land. Coupled with Mitten’s crystal clear and rousing action sequences, and the detail he pours into things like the garb of the Dog Tribe members, this is a strong package. I was also pleased to read recently that issue #25 will be a double-length, full color, anniversary issue, with painted art by Chris. What a wonderful way to celebrate! Congratulations, guys! I’ll certainly be buying a few copies of that to pass out to friends and family. The quarter century mark is an achievement for any small press title, but it comes as no surprise really for anyone familiar with the strength and character of this particular book. If poor comics are a dreadful poison, then Wasteland is the antidote. Grade A.
I also picked up;
Guardians of the Galaxy: Legacy (Marvel): This is the Volume 1 HC from Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Paul Pelletier. Been a fan of the DnA writing duo since way back, since they were doing the "Legion of the Damned" storyline for DC (which *still* hasn't been collected!). It's nice to see them driving such attention for the overlooked stable of Marvel Cosmic Characters.