What does H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds have in common with adorable anthropomorphic animals? If you answered Wild’s End, the new six issue comic book mini-series from BOOM! Studios, then you either have already heard of the series or you guessed the obvious answer from the fact you’re reading a review. Regardless of how you answered the question, Wild’s End is mashing the two together with the release of its first issue this week. Written by Dan Abnett, cosmic Marvel writer extraordinaire, and drawn by I.N.J. Culbard, who famously adapted At the Mountains of Madness, this is a concept that would be tricky no matter who was writing it. Luckily, thanks to the very talented duo, this is one of the most memorable comics in quite some time.
The comic opens with Fawkes, who is a literal fox, walking through the night air with his companion Bodie. The two are drunk but it doesn’t stop them from noticing a shooting star overhead, one that soon crashes nearby. From there we skip ahead to meet the inhabitants of the sleepy community Lower Crowchurch. As you may have expected, every member is an animal. Each character also comes complete with 1930s era clothing and warm personalities.
Culbard does an amazing job on the art. How do you draw a drunk fox? I wouldn’t have any idea where to start but reading Wild’s End you’d think it was easy. They may be animals but the body language is so subtly human that it depicts the differences in personality and mood perfectly. The writing and art work masterfully well together to bring everything to life. Further helped by the earthy block colours, the whole comic just radiates a likable charm.
I mentioned the personalities of the characters previously, I have to just elaborate further by saying that this is one of the most terribly British comics I’ve ever read. If you were to prick this issue, it would bleed tea. Expect to read words like “tombola,” which may perplex any readers that haven’t grown up somewhere in Britain themselves. The quirky dialogue is actually huge part of the issue’s appeal. It’s genuinely amusing and the accents are portrayed authentically with a slight adjustment of spelling and abbreviation. After just this one issue I could hear all the varied voices of these colourful characters as I read along.
In the interest of fairness I should point out that there’s little action in this introduction. There’s a lot of dialogue as we’re gently introduced to the inhabitants and the premise of the series. However it’s so sharply written and wonderfully illustrated that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that fact. Tonally there isn’t really anything that would be too unsuitable for kids, but I wouldn’t pass this to anyone too young. There are hints that this may be taking a darker turn as things progress so either way you might want to give it a read first if you’re a parent.
Altogether it’s a very memorable issue and a strong opener. It won’t have you laughing aloud, but the whole thing is so amusing and quaint that it doesn’t need to. The script and visuals fuse into a powerfully appealing package, I have a hard time imagining anyone being disappointed by the decision to pick this up.
Wild’s End is absolutely delightful to read. It’s whimsical and funny but it’s also surprisingly engaging. This is a strikingly unique comic book that deserves your attention.