Saturday, December 28, 2013


Full disclosure time. WASTELAND BOOK ONE: CITIES IN DUST is a book I would have never purchased for myself. If I saw a copy of this trade paperback sitting on the shelf of a bookstore or comic book shop, I would never even pick it up and thumb through it. Why? I dunno, other than it just doesn't grab me at first glance. But since I recently acquired copies of the first two trade paperback collections of this series in a comic book trade with a fellow collector, I figured the least I could do was give it a chance and read it before I put it up for sale on eBay. And that's just what I did today.

The Oni Press series is written by Antony Johnston and illustrated by Christopher Mitten , two gentlemen who's work I am not familiar with. The first book, CITIES IN DUST, collects the first six issues of this ongoing series, which has seen more than fifty monthly issues published thus far as well as eight trade paperback collections.

WASTELAND is a post-apocalyptic epic adventure set one hundred years after a disaster known only as "The Big Wet" has occurred in the United States. The country has been reduced to a barren wasteland (hence, the title) and what few survivors there are lead a hardscrabble existence. A stranger comes into the small town of Providence one day and before long all hell has broken loose. The handful of citizens that survive are led by the stranger to Newbegin, the nearest outpost of civilization. But the desert city is under the rule of a mad priest who fancies himself a god.

There are clues and hints dropped along the way as to the secret behind the disaster and what's really going on but Johnston and Mitten play their cards close to the vest. I'm sure parts of the puzzle have since been revealed but after reading only this first volume, I'm still pretty much in the dark.

WASTELAND plays like a million other westerns/post-apocalyptic yarns. It's neither better than average or worse. It hits all of the narrative tropes and has enough action and intrigue to keep readers interested and turning the pages. The black and white art by Mitten is serviceable although at times his figures look too loose and sketchy and many of his male characters are hard to tell apart due to their hair, face and body similarities.

I'll give the second volume a read since I have a copy but I don't think I'll be actively seeking out any additional volumes in this series. It's not bad, it's just not that great either.

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