Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Friday, July 21, 2006

Wasteland #1

Let's cut to the chase here; I'll grade the first issue of Oni Press's new comic (Wasteland) as a B with a big 'ole asterisk (due heaping potential).

The entire thing kind of reminds me of TWD in a way... (maybe it's the B&W artwork or the post-apocolyptic setting?) and that's generally a good thing. I'm a big fan of books that attempt to explore what civilization would be like if the world were rebooted (whether by nuclear holocaust, alien invasion, natural disaster, zombie plague, etc.); but there's a problem: When writing a book like this it has to be VERY good (a la TWD) since these ideas have been hashed and re-hashed umpteen thousand times in just about every medium one can list.

Wasteland starts off plenty well; the opening pages introduce us to one of the main characters (an apparent nomad scavenger named Michael), as he's ambushed by a team of sub-human sand people (is this book set on tatooine??) called, rather unfortunately even as slang, "Sandies". Not sure if these guys are zombie's or what (it's made clear later in the issue that you don't want to get bitten by them, though Micheal does in this first fight). Michael himself appears to be cool enough (esp the way he's drawn), possibly even with some nifty telekenetic powers (the use of which give him nosebleeds) beyond an obvious knack for fisticuffs.

Ultimately, these first pages/panels really set a great tone for the book and had me super hype (which is certainly what you want from your #1)... Unfortunately things took a slight dip once the dialogue started (more on that later).

After his run-in with the Sandies, Mike discovers a mysterious letter (written in a strange tongue) accompanied by an even more mysterious recording device (the significance of either is yet to be revealed). He heads into a nearby town to trade for supplies and hooks up with the required damsel (though she's not in distress yet) before ultimately setting out to a town/city/place called "New Begin". The aforementioned damsel, Abi, also seems to have powers (healing) and gets the same nosebleeds as Michael when she uses them. The second half of this issue deals w/ the early stages of their trek, including an action-packed run-in w/ a second (and much larger) mob of Sandies.

Ok... back to the writing (see how i delivered on my "more on that later"?): It's not that it's all that bad really, just feels a bit immature. Johnston's dialogue is awkward at times (he uses the phrases "goat shit" and "son of a goat" so often it makes me wonder when he's going to explain why goats are so intrinsic to this world he's introducing us to!), creating an occasional conversation flow problem. Not a huge deal though, it's not exactly uncommon for the writing/dialogue of a first issue to stutter a bit while the creative team works out their characters. We're still cool.

The artwork on the other hand is some good, solid, well laid out B&W. I've never heard of the penciler (Chris Mitten) but i'm enjoying his work so far. As a matter of fact it's not out of line to say i'm REALLY liking it. Good stuff.

#2 is a definite (2-issue rule or not). If these guys can tighten up the dialogue/writing just a bit, this book has some great potential.


21 July, 2006 22:32, Blogger Sean Maher said...

I imagine part of the TWD connection in your mind would be the stunning similarity between this book's artist and Tony Moore's work on the early issues of TWD... it was a comparison I made very early on, too.

Still haven't gotten around to reading this one all the way through. Opening pages didn't grab me too fast and it just got put down in the hustle and bustle o' tings. I'll have to pick it back up...

23 July, 2006 10:36, Blogger zilla said...

yeah wasteland for me is one of those titles i really, really want to like. the premise is good, the artwork familiar and solid, but the writing (so far)...

25 July, 2006 20:37, Anonymous CellarDoor said...

Nice review. It sure does sound like the book has promise. Are you familiar with the creators at all. The names didn't sound familiar to me at all. I haven't read it yet, as the LCS near me didn't get it in. I'll be ordering it sometime though, because I am now going the mail order route I already ordered #4(?). I guess that's another drawback of mail order because by the time you get the first issue of a new book, you've already ordered about 3 more in advance.


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In no particular order:

Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

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