Sunday, February 15, 2009
I've been meaning to read Wastland since it first came out, however I was living in Asia and didn't have a chance to.
I read the first issue when the writer and creator, Antony Johnston, put it on a torrent site (and hey, it's still on the website). And I and picked up a couple of issues from a dollar bin in Australia in 2007, but this is my first time reading through the opening arc.
Of course, I was a bit nervous about reading the first collection after waiting so long: What if it wasn't any good? Thankfully, it is.
Wasteland is set 100 years after "the big wet," a so far (as of the first volume) unexplained disaster that pretty much wiped out society. There's still some technology, and people still have communities, but they're barely hanging on it the desert like world they're living in.
The story follows Abi and Michael, two people with spooooooky powers (Abi can heal people, and Michael is a telekenetic), who don't seem to age, and can't remember where they came from. Abi's living in a town (and seems to have been there for quite some time), and when Michael shows up one day, disaster soon follows. Sand eaters, weird mutant things (?) who speak broken english, attack destroying the town and killing much of the populatoin. Thus, the entire town (or what's left of them) head off to the nearby city of Newbegin. Getting to the city isn't eash, and they're attacked by various monstrous creatures and run into other problems on their way. Of course, once they get to the city they're not that much better off.
Newbegin is where the story really gets political. It was founded by Marcus, another seemingly ageless person with superpowers, 80 years ago and is run by a schemeing council (like all good cities should be). The council is trying to deal with the Sunners, members of a religious group who worship the sun. They're the lowest caste around, and many of them are slaves, but that's not good enough for Marcus, who wants to enslave them all.
By the end of the first trade the reader will probably be left with a lot of questions, however it doesn't seem like everything's being made up as it goes along. Instead I feel as though Johnston has a pretty good idea of where his story is going.
The world Johston has created is pretty immense, and it's clear he's put a lot of thought into the back story. He probably has a timeline for the full 80 years of Newbegin, a fair amount of information on the different religions, how they formed and how they act, what technology is still around and why it's still there to be used.
Art wise Wasteland is pretty good too. It's pencilled, inked, and grey toned by Christopher Mitten, and I think he does a good job. I really like the backgrounds he does for the cities (and most other stuff for that matter). His people generally look good, though his women look a bit too similar so far, though there haven't been that many, so we'll see what happens. My one big complaint is probably with the grey tones, which at times seem a bit excessive. I know there's only so much you can do with a black and white comic, but I guess I'd prefer to see a bit more black, and a bit less computer fading.
Wasteland is planned for 50 issues, and it's just about halfway there now. If you want more information, check out the website, which even has songs recorded for the comic, as well as lots of other information.