The Wilds vol 1
After a cataclysmic plague sweeps across America, survivors come together to form citystate-like communities for safety. Daisy is a Runner for The Compound, a mix of post-apocalyptic postal service and black market salvaging operation. When her lover Heather goes missing, though, Daisy ventures beyond the settlement walls to find her.
I bought The Wilds near the beginning of quarantine when Black Mask Studios was sending half of the money from online purchases to your LCS if you made note of it at checkout. I didn’t read the description. I saw Vita and Emily did the book and I pulled the trigger.
I did not have any idea that this book was a post-cataclysmic story centered on a deadly, transmutative virus until the very first page.
I’m writing this review near the end of May, 2020. The issue was published in 2018. Naturally, many of you reading this article can draw the lines of parallel for yourselves and see why so early in the book I was shaken by the terrifying prognostication at work here. And so, with that foundation established, I dove in. Many will compare this series to The Walking Dead and that’s not a totally unfair comparison. Supply runs out into the world, the fear of the potential horde, and untrusty leaders are all common elements. But there is much more at work just below the surface of The Wilds that helps to make it distinct very much in its own right.
The nature of the “virus”, which turns out to not be a virus at all, is certainly a revelation that gives this world incredible depth. The notion that abominations are not mindless zombies cuts to the core. Should this story continue, the implications of that idea open a whole new world that is only gestured at here in terms of morality. There is also the beautiful “return to nature” component to this story that gives the whole “disease of humanity” angle a new spin as the floral mutations add a certain beauty to the doom. Pearson truly shines when working on the abominations.
There is something about The Wilds that feels more plausible than other post-cataclysmic narratives. Of course there would be citystate-like structures versus the small, lawless bands we see in other similar stories. The rich already control most resources… why would that not continue to be the case? The discussions regarding contracts and the near impossibility of fulfilling them feels incredibly genuine and gives a nice inroad for Ayala to explore current states of affairs subtly through their doomsday narrative. There is a constant interplay between power and control at work that stays in flux throughout. Another element quite well done is the sexual inclusivity seen here. None of the characters feels defined by their sexuality but instead are fully rounded, multidimensional characters. It seems like this should be the standard in 2020 but it appears pulling off such a feat is still quite difficult for many, but not so for Ayala.
If you’re in the market for a fresh take on a tried and true genre, The Wilds is the book for you. With complex narrative and beautiful illustrations, there is nothing to not like about this book.
The Wilds (Ayala, Pearson) is a beautiful twist on the post-cataclysmic genre that lands with extra punch during this global pandemic of 2020.
The Wilds vol1: Terrifying Quarantine Reading
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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