Now, before you all get a little hot under the collar you should know that despite the title, this is not “that sort of book”. For that you will have to go check out the review for Lesbian Zombies from Outer Space. Here you get a story of a young woman, who takes people from one city, across a barren desolate wasteland and delivers them to anther city. Think Greyhound buses, without the bus and no American city of country side to look at.
This first chapter serves as an introduction to Esme Ford, her trust motorbike, her skills as a fighter and the dangling threads of those that she knows, tolerates and works for. Wastelands and those that traverse them is a popular theme, from Logan’s Run, Mad Max to the recent Into the Badlands show. In all these stories there are aspects of a central theme of those that have, those that want and those that are stuck in the middle. Esme Ford is a badass, capable of handling herself in a number of situations; situations that are used in this chapter as a means of explanation.
Writer, letterer and Project Nerd CEO and Editor-in Chief Iggy Michniacki mines the aforementioned stories for his source material, tying it up in a nice bow, which is almost ironic given that Esme seem to enjoy some “Arrow” time. As a first issue, it works extremely well for the most part. The dialogue of moody loner is played to perfection; the action giving enough pause to let actions sink in and let the reader adjust to their surroundings. I even liked the self-aware part when Esme is challenged about petrol for her bike rather than leave the perpetual mystery of how machines work in the dark and broken future.
J. C. Grande is the artist charge with giving the word their life. At first glance I was massively disappointed with the interior art as the cover by Esteban Salinas is absolutely gorgeous. Still you know what they say about books and covers, right? Once over my disappointment I was able to enjoy the art for what it was. Grande provides some solid layouts in both panel and camera angles. I can see that Grande certainly can handle the pose element of comic book art. Things get a little hairy when it comes to the sequential elements, with some limbs looking a little turned around. In addition, there is the magic ability of Esme seemingly able to change bow hands twice in the space of two panels on one page. An impressive skill to be sure! Grande may need an inker to help smooth out some of the roughness on show. I am not saying that the roughness is bad, but smoother lines would create stronger figure work. Colors by cover artist Esteban Salinas start out garishly bright before the lower hues of town life seem to take over and give the book a more down and dirty feel. This is further evidenced with the neon lights of the city with its dark offerings of seduction.
For those that like a good “out in the wastelands” story with a strong female lead, this book may not offer enough of a different experience for you. For me, I was impressed with the first chapter and look forward to Esme showing me around these particular Badlands.
Writer – 3.5 Stars
Art – 3 Stars
Color – 3 Stars
Cover – 4 Stars
Created & Written by Iggy Michniacki
Pencils & Inks by J.C. Grande
Colors & Cover by Esteban Salinas
Available Wednesday, February 15th