One reviewer wrote that he didn’t like this comic because he can’t tell the characters apart. As long-time readers might remember, that’s a criticism I often have, although as Johnston gets deeper into his epic, it’s becoming easier to tell who’s who. But that shouldn’t be a problem with this issue, which, if you haven’t been reading Wasteland (and too bad for you!), is a good place to start. It’s an “in-between” issue, which means that Johnston tells a standalone story with guest art. Infurnari’s art is rough and gritty, which suits the desert setting of the issue nicely, and he completely eschews panels for most of the book, instead bleeding one scene into the next, which is all part of a story told as a flashback to a merchant in the town of “Providens” and which adds nicely to the mood.
The narrator is none other than Michael, the enigmatic ruin runner of the main story, and he had brought a laceless boot and a Bible to the merchant. When the man asks him where he got a Bible, Michael tells him the story of a priest and his guide crossing the desert on their way to Providens, and how he (Michael) fell in with them. It’s a nifty little tale of men overcoming or succumbing to prejudices, and ends with an ironic little twist. The problem I have with the story is that it relies on a stereotype to make its point. The priest acts pretty much how we would expect him to, and it’s a bit disappointing. The nice thing about the story is that we get to know more about Michael and his somewhat brutal past, which will doubtlessly come into play in the “present” of the book.
I encourage you give this issue a try, because it’s a good example of the world that Johnston has created, and although it’s not a perfect story, it still shows what kind of lives the people in the world live. These one-and-done stories that separate the main arcs are nice, because they allow you to get a good idea of what kind of book it is. And if you don’t like it, you’re not out a ton of money. But why on earth wouldn’t you like it? That’s just crazy!
Thanks a ton, Greg! Now what are you waiting for!? You heard the man, git out there and pick up a copy already!