Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wasteland #34

Written by Antony Johnston
Art by Justin Greenwood

I'm very pleased to see that Wasteland is back on a regular schedule, and therefore welcome the addition of new artist Justin Greenwood, since it seems that it is his efforts that are helping the book return to its previous status as one of the most dependable (and high-quality) independent books on the stands.

The tone of this comic has shifted quite a bit with the new artist and new story arc.  Where before, Wasteland was largely about survival in a difficult future, and the politics of the city of Newbegin, this story arc is also exploring issues of faith in greater depth than the series did before.  Our heroes, Michael and Abi, who are traveling with the Ruin Runner Gerr, find themselves in the town of Godsholm, which is a Crossed Chains town.  The populace of this isolated town are Christians, and it is curious to see Johnston introduce such a familiar thing into his story.  He has not shied away from religion before, but in those cases, he has only given us the Sunner religion, which is much simpler in its belief system than Christianity.

The people of Godsholm are convinced that the travelers are demons, and everyone is upset about the fact that they were recently visited by a giant naked man who mocked their beliefs.  Abi and Michael realize that this same figure, who visited them last issue while they slept, is their father, and that he is traveling to Newbegin, to deal with Marcus, the leader of that city.

This arc is very much grounded in what has come before in the series, but is also rather accessible for new readers.  It may not feel that way at first, but many of the things that seem unclear, such as Michael's abilities, and the mystery of A-Ree-Yass-I have been mysteries since the series began.

As I've been saying for as long as this comic has been running, Johnston has done some incredible world-building with this series, and it is always fascinating.  Greenwood's art works well here - I preferred Christopher Mitten on this title, but am also very pleased to see the book coming out again, so I'm not going to complain.

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