Wasteland [Shotgun Blurbs]

Published by Oni Press
Creators: Antony Johnston, Christopher Mitten, et al.

What It's About: Wasteland is set “100 Years After The Big Wet,” in a post-apocalyptic America where a mysterious cataclysmic environmental disaster has radically altered the planet. At least that’s what we think. Writer Antony Johnston has never directly explained the event, whether it was naturally occurring or man-made, but laces the story with clues regarding its origin, which may lie in the fabled land of “A-Ree-Yass-I.” Some consider it a myth, but scavenger “Ruin-Runner” Michael may know the facts concerning it and a mysterious Mother Box-like device that spews cryptic information. Capable in a fight and rarely uttering more than a half-sentence, Michael is a rogue we love, in the tradition of Han Solo meets Mad Max, who happens upon Abi in a town called Providens. Their epic quest together for answers regarding A-Ree-Yass-I, as well as their own abilities, takes them on a town-to-town adventure, as they journey through small fiefdoms, from Marcus at Newbegin, to the Dog Tribes, to places like Godsholm and Waters Meet, the Sunner Rebellion, and the great Travelling Caravans of The Sultans. More pieces of the puzzle continually snap into place like a mosaic, forming the big picture of The Big Wet. With a deep world-defining mystery at its core, it has the ability to entertain, but also to function at a more cerebral level. It’s a cautionary tale of survival that doesn’t rely on schlock zombies or one-note high concept hooks, but strong characterization and the universal tropes of politics, sex, religion, education, faith, destiny, prejudice, caste systems, and human strife.

Why You Should Buy It: Johnston can only be described as a master world-builder, pushing his universe well beyond the confines of the panel borders. From the degenerated slang language, full of “goat-fuckers” and “Sand-Eaters,” to the backmatter journal entries of young Ankya Ofsteen in “Walking The Dust,” there’s no exposition, no narration boxes, and no insulting the reader. Johnston lays it out at a brisk organic pace and demands you keep up and play along, guessing and second-guessing all the way to A-Ree-Yass-I. The story winds through traditional story arcs initially penciled by Chris Mitten and covered by Ben Templesmith, punctuated by single interlude issues with guest artists that usually rewind from the 100 year old disaster to just 10, 50, and 90 years after The Big Wet. With artists like Joe Infurnari, Sandy Jarrell, and Carla Speed McNeil sketching out background information that informs the present, just when you think your questions are sated, you find yourself begging for more. With Chris Mitten now on cover duty, artist Justin Greenwood teamed with Johnston for the latest arc (collected in Wasteland Volume 07: Under The God). With the end in sight (Wasteland is slated to end at #60 as we currently await issue #40), Johnston has begun increasing the pace of key reveals. Wasteland has functioned largely under the radar and deserves more of a big media spectacle, combining action, brain, and mythos to create an all-time genre-buster. With half the world covered in toxic water and massive expanses of dry inhospitable land, Wasteland is available in singles, softcover trades, or even the oversized hardcover Apocalyptic Editions. So, pick your poison.


At 1:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review man. This series is one of my great discoveries of the year (the other being Finder)and I am disappointed it doesn't get more respect.

I love how it makes you work just enough to keep up. You have to break into a trot not just amble along.

Rad comic, thanks for writing about it.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Justin Giampaoli said...

Thanks for the feedback, Joe. Definitely wish more people were hooked on Wasteland.


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