Fifty-five years after the Big Wet, Michael saunters into the city of Providens with some recently acquired supplies - itching to make a trade. In short order, he finds a shop keeper who is willing to trade for some cash, but would like to know how Michael came into possession of a bible. It’s a long story, of course, one Michael doesn’t share himself - but lucky us, we’re let in on the secret.
This issue of Wasteland is another in the series of flashbacks that serve as a break in between arcs of the larger story. The idea is to develop the world from a slightly different vantage point than we are used to, utilizing the skills of a guest artist to relate a story left untold about the lives of certain characters in the book. The last time we got an issue like this, Carla Speed McNeil - and in this one we get a story drawn by the talented Joe Infurnari - artist of another Oni Press book Borrowed Time, and a webcomic entitled “The Process”. The result, of course, is something that feels different than the stories writer Antony Johnston tells with Christopher Mitten, but reads just as well as the rest of the series.
While Johnston’s story is fantastic once more, detailing more moments of survival in the (quite literal) wasteland between towns and giving us a subtle call back to the very first issue of the series - the real surprise here was just how great the pages by Infurnari turned out. I expected big things, having been wowed by his art style before, but in this issue, he accomplishes something that very few in comics can do well - telling a sequential story in which there are little to no panel separations, and making it work. Not once is there a question of where the eye should flow, as the art naturally directs to the next event. In the same token, kudos to letterer Douglas E. Sherwood. Good letterers are often overlooked - mainly because when they are doing their job right, you don’t really notice bubble placement - and in this issue, a wrong placement really would’ve provided for chaos. He did a great job picking his spots, and helping lead the eye as well. Just a bang up job by all involved.
I do say this every time I review this book: you should be picking this one up. It’s one of the best books out there at the moment, and one of the few post-apocalyptic stories that didn’t make me want to dig out my own eye with a spoon - much to the credit of Johnston. Top notch as always.