Rating: 3/5 – So Far This is War of the Worlds with Animals.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.
As the father of a two year old, I’m knee deep at any given bedtime in fables or other storybooks that feature talking animals. Brown Bear, Goodnight Moon, and Jamberry are just a few of the children’s books I’ve unwittingly come to memorize over the past couple of years. It makes me wonder if I subconsciously picked up Wild’s End #1 because of the animals on the cover and the overall fable-like feel of the packaging. Or it could be the premise of the story, which has aliens attacking a sleepy little English town War of the Worlds style. Either way, it’s written by Dan Abnett, who is more or less responsible for the modern Guardians of the Galaxy roster. So whether it’s talking animals or alien invasions, there doesn’t seem to be anyone more qualified to tell this tale and that alone was enough for me to give it a try.
The issue starts with a pair of animals making their way along the countryside when a “shooting star” blazes across the night sky and lands over a hill. Knowing the premise of the story, there should be no real mystery about what kind of trouble lies ahead. The core of the story that follows sees an introduction of many of the cast during the planning of the town’s yearly celebration, including a new resident that plays the role of the protagonist that guides the reader into this world. This scene eats up most of the issue, which I find unfortunate because there isn’t a lot of action, nor did I feel it moved the story along much. What is meant to establish the characters really came off to me more like a whimsical slice of life. The issue picks back up with its original premise at the end, though, and truly amps up the coming threat.
Included post story is a map of the town and the events that have taken place thus far. There is also a mock newspaper that includes all sorts of humorous tidbits as reported from a 1930s viewpoint. Unlike the map, I couldn’t quite place my finger on the relevance of the newspaper, except that maybe it will start to report on some of the strange happenings. Both were a nice touch and made the book feel like a complete package. The art by I.N.J. Culbard didn’t really click with me. I thought it could have added more to the fable-like, parable quality of it all if it had been more detailed and less cartoonish. Still, the story revolves around talking animals, so the style was not completely out of place and may work for other readers better than it did for me.
Wild’s End has the potential to be a fun ride. Who doesn’t like a good alien invasion story? However, we’ve seen War of Worlds before, so I’m hoping there is some new spin on it other than just “WotW with animals.” The characters have fun personalities and the protagonist especially appears to have hidden layers yet to be discovered. I hope future issues focus more on action, and the final scene in the issue was like the first shot fired across the bow of a ship, one that promises just that in future issues.
Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
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