Renowned for writing the definitive Guardians of the Galaxy, author Dan Abnett teams up with artist I.N.J. Culbard yet again for BOOM! Studios latest graphic novel, Wild’s End: First Light. Utilising all the tropes of classic sci-fi adventure, Abnett and Culbard inject the genre with an anthropomorphic twist.
Set in the 1930s, the secluded English village of Lower Crowchurch is utterly unprepared for an alien invasion. Led to safety by war veteran Clive Slipaway, the inhabitants of Crowchurch are faced with the harsh realities of death and the horrifying fact that they’re not alone in the universe.
Mixing together the fantastical elements of both The Wind in the Willows and H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, Wild’s End is a brutal clash of two wholly different genres, and that’s why it’s such a refreshing read. Aided by Culbard’s phenomenal art, BOOM! Studios latest stands as being one of Abnett’s finest reads in a while.
The characters, despite being animals, feel authentic and human. Some specific characters match the traits of their animal counterparts, and Abnett manages to infuse the cast with emotion and individuality. For example, a cat named Ms. Peardew is a bitter writer who is stuck in a creative rut, whilst a particular favourite, Fawkes, is an alcoholic fox shunned by the townsfolk.
Culbard’s artwork is faultless in Wild’s End, and he perfectly encapsulates the sensibilities of the story. His artwork is a vibrant palette of colours with some superb line work, which manages to contrast between life and death incredibly well. The alien designs, whilst retaining the traditional tripod design, still manage to fit within the 1930s aesthetic and story.
Currently an ongoing series, it will be interesting to see Wild’s End’s story continue, especially in regards to the final revealing page. Abnett somehow manages to create such a rich and diverse universe so well, and that’s previously been noticed in Guardians of the Galaxy and The New Deadwardians.
If you’re after a recommendation this Christmas, look no further than Wild’s End. It’s an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable experience from start to finish. Unique characters are established and thrown into uncharted territory, providing a concept that hasn’t been seen in comics yet. Culbard’s artwork is also wonderfully stylistic and simply beautiful, and it truly stands out on the comic book shelves.
WILD’S END: FIRST LIGHT / WRITER: DAN ABNETT / ARTIST: I.N.J. CULBARD / PUBLISHER: BOOM TOWN / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 17TH