Into The Wilderness #1
After a deadly explosion rocks the New Jersey forest, a talking dog named Caprica and her stoic human partner Schneider go on the hunt for a killer.
Schneider and Caprica are Advocates, charged with keeping the peace between humans and dogs. But Schneider's grief has set him on the warpath. Can Caprica pull him back before he crosses the line between justice and vengeance? Or will the violence consume him like it has so many others?
Gabe Cheng has just an incredible way of putting down to earth dialogue in a fantastic world to convey much broader messages that is precious to both see unfold and let yourself get into. The first three pages of this story, with Byram (the kid that fell into the villain’s grenades) learning to trust in the companionship of Logan and the kindness of the Advocates’ mission (one of reconciliation between humans and dogs), act as both a prologue and a mini-replica of the main conflict, in which Schneider deals with his justified anger in ways that dialogue with the reader about justice and further ethical questions.
Elisa Meneghel’s art gets an almost fabled vibe of developing the woody visuals, in which the cartoonish action and exaggerated gesturing bring this closer to YA or newspaper cartoons’ visuals than For Molly’s more serious and conventionally beautiful ones. Elisa already collaborated with Cheng in Love At First Bite, and here she brings less humor but the same amount of caricature and impudence that makes the overarching darker themes of the story arrive easier to a general reader. And, while her art certainly makes the more gruesome action somehow less credible, it gives this one-shot a refreshing and well-paced tone, with an stellar use of coloring to convey feelings and scenarios so vividly you kind of feel like you’re within this forest.
In general, the combination of Meneghel’s visuals and the joking tone of Cheng’s script makes Into The Wilderness kind of “tale for all readers” with a beautifully empathetic meaning behind it, while still setting it clearly in a kind of dystopian fantastic universe, as well as showing a rougher realism to its characters’ emotions. And I honestly can’t wait to see more of these two creators together.
Into The Wilderness puts cartoonish, empathetic art at the service of its tale of resilience and companionship in a harsh world that isolates us.
Into The Wilderness #1: What Do You Do With The Pain?
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 8.5/108.5/10
Color - 9.5/109.5/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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