Comics Review: Wasteland - The Apocalyptic Edition Vol. 1

Wasteland: The Apocalyptic Edition Vol. 1
8.8 of 10
Writer: Antony Johnston
Penciler: Christopher Mitten

Comic book trades are getting more popular these days, and it's easy to see why people are trade-waiting instead of getting the monthly series. Trades are much cheaper and -if you're gunning for the omnibuses or the deluxe and absolute editions- they're more gorgeous and sturdier. That's why, in my current financial situation, I canceled some of the series off my pull sheet and decided to wait for the collected trades instead. Amongst those comics that I dropped was a post-apocalyptic series entitled Wasteland.

But I'm glad that I canceled the series though. Because it only gave me a reason to buy Wasteland: The Apocalyptic Edition Vol. 1. It's a massive and gorgeous collection, I tell you. 13 issues of Wasteland, including an amazing cover art gallery and the "Walking the Dust" prose, bound together in a red velvet-like hardcover. Neat freaks should watch out, however, since the velvet-like cover is a dirt/dust magnet. But I think the book should look dirty, just to appear more "wastelandic".

Wasteland, however, is not just a good-looking book but also a good book. The story is set a century after an enigmatic cataclysm, known only as The Big Wet. Unlike most post-apocalyptic stories, the theme in this series -or in this volume, at least- isn't focused on character survival but in rebuilding civilizations. And world-building is where this book really shines. While there are strong central characters in the story, like Michael and Abi, their origins on this volume are still in the dark. So they're easily swallowed by the awe-inspiring and complex setting that is filled with a different and uniquely inspired slang language, sand-eating monsters, machine caravans and sun-worshiping religions.

The artwork by Christopher Mitten is also stunning to behold. It doesn't have a lot of flair but each panel is purposely drawn. It's also in black and white. But what it lacks in color, its subtlety makes up for it. Still, there are some muddy parts and panels that I have to turn the book upside down or sideways just to make something out of what is drawn.

Overall, Wasteland: The Apocalyptic Edition Vol. 1 is a stupendous collected trade. The setting here will leave you open-mouthed. The story is also great but -since this volume focuses more on world-building- a lot of things such as The Big Wet and the origins of the main characters are still in the dark. So that might put-off some readers whose interests lies in stories and characters rather than the setting. But I still recommend this book if you're into post-apocalyptic fiction. And if you're worried about not getting enough characters and stories, just wait for volume two.

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