Friday, December 2, 2011

Wasteland #32

Written by Antony Johnston
Art by Brett Weldele

Amid the usual trickle, and sometimes deluge, of announcements about new graphic novels and comics series that have been heralded over the last year, one of the ones that most caught my eye was the expected return of Wasteland to a monthly schedule.  Wasteland has been around for a while, and was at one point the most reliable of monthly independent comics.  And then it hit a few snags, as the last arc was released on a schedule that has more in common with sightings of particular comets than it does a monthly comic.

That's just about all over now, as in January, new series artist Justin Greenwood is set to arrive, and the book will be beginning a new arc.  In the interim, Antony Johnston decided to give us this one-off issue which addresses the fate of a couple of very minor characters.

The issue opens with a young woman, who we may or may not have seen in Sultan Ameer's camp (I don't remember if she was a character or not, or is just your generic escaped slave), reveling in her new freedom, and traveling to what she hopes is a city.  Along the way, she runs in to a group of Sunners going the other way, led by what looks like a familiar figure.  We quickly learn that this is the group that left Newbegin some time ago, under the supposed leadership of Golden Voice.  As it turns out, the man leading this group is an imposter, chosen a while back to make it look like Golden Voice had left the city.

The rest of the book follows this group as they face the hazards of Johnston's broken future world.  As always, Johnston provides a fully-realized science fiction environment, but keeps his story grounded in the strength of his characterizations.

Brett Weldele, of the recent mini-series Spontaneous, provides the art, so of course the book looks good.  He is a good artist to continue the minimalist aesthetic Christopher Mitten began on this title.

This issue is a nice introduction to new readers who may want to sample this series before the $1 issue next month, but it is also a reward to loyal readers on a number of levels.  If you haven't read Wasteland, you're really missing out on a terrific comic.  If you abandoned the book during its scheduling troubles, it's time to come back to it.

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