7.08.10 Reviews (Part 1)

Wasteland #29 (Oni Press): Wow. I didn’t see this coming. When Antony Johnston recently announced that there would be “big changes” in The Big Wet, he didn’t just mean that the web-site would be under reconstruction. To some extent, the contents of this issue feel irrelevant to me right now, because this has become an emotionally charged changing of the creative guard issue. Yeah… regular series artist Christopher Mitten is leaving the book. It seems that personal and professional challenges created the perfect storm and after much soul searching, the duo will thankfully part as friends. Chris provided layouts for this issue (and will for a handful to come), with new series artist Remington Veteto in the unenviable position of finishing with penciling and inking, attempting to carry on the tradition of craftsmanship established by Mitten’s tenure on the book.

I’m proud of the fact that I was an early adopter of Wasteland, picking up the very first issue from Antony and Chris at SDCC a few years ago, sticking with the entire run, blogging about it, evangelizing it to my friends and readers, seeing it hit that beautiful landmark full color 25th issue, witnessing the Apocalyptic Edition HC, and supporting the endeavor with purchases of every single issue and the eventual trades. I’m sad to see Chris go, moved by Antony’s “no bullshit” genuine words at the end which respectfully explain what’s happening to all of us Wastelanders out there, but hopeful for newcomer Remington Veteto. Judging by his contributions in this issue, he is indeed a find, and I already like his style. If you put a gun to my head and I was absolutely forced to come up with even the slightest criticism of Chris, it would be that in some very early issues, some of the characters looked similar and could be difficult to tell apart. Veteto’s figures are pretty distinct, due in large part to a more variable line weight, and he seems to have an intuitive feel for these characters and this imaginative place. He seems able to capture Mitten’s rustic aesthetic, couple it with a more plump style of figure work that reminds me of Carlos Pacheco, and then top it off with an inkier core that actually calls to mind Paul Pope. I’d guess we’ll be in good hands and will trust the eye for talent of both Antony and EIC James Lucas Jones.

Wasteland is the type of book that has a unique, fresh, clear creative vision. It’s the type of book the industry needs more of. No more superheroes. No more vampires. No more convoluted continuity laden events. No more post-modern revisionist pap recycling the same old properties. More Wasteland, please. It’s not just some disposable piece of pop fiction. Oh, it can entertain like those might, but also comes with heaping doses of writing excellence, visual artistry, and a long tradition of social relevance. At a time when the United States is faced with the largest environmental disaster in history, look at the ironic parity of this cautionary tale at play in this book, touching on man’s relationship with the inhabitability of the planet. If you like your art to echo life, and vice versa, it doesn’t get much better.

I've always believed that change can ultimately be healthy. It’s how we learn and grow. Amazing things can happen when you’re standing on the precipice. Times of change can also be precarious and unpredictable. During times of change, it’s too easy to back away from a challenge due to fear of the unknown. For some, it’s a convenient excuse to walk away. It’s times like this when advocates and allies, dare I say friends, need to rally support. I, for one, want to see Wasteland run its natural course and fulfill the vision of the creators and its true potential in the marketplace. So, here it is: The 13 Minutes Money Back Guarantee™. Buy this issue of Wasteland, and if for some odd reason you don’t like anything about it, email me and I will either buy it from you or replace it with another issue of Wasteland of my choosing, your choice on which route to go.

Good luck, Chris. Welcome aboard, Remington. Forge ahead, Antony. I’ll ride with you to whatever end. Grade A+.


At 12:55 PM, Blogger antony said...

Yes, yes, but what did you think of the issue? ;)

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Justin said...

HAHA! Yeah, I liked it. Any time Dexus gets attention, I think it's riveting. He's such a manipulator and I'm waiting for the day when all that karma comes back to revisit him.

Also - Mary, what's up with that woman?

Also - Ankya Ofsteen, still waiting for the interlude issue about her. ;-)


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