Reviewing Wild’s End #2

GameStop, Inc.

WildsEnd02_coverAMore of the inhabitants of Wild’s End get a glimpse of the alien invader in this issue, and Abnett introduces a new character, the reclusive writer, Susan Peardew. The book still mixes elements Wind in the Willows and War of the Worlds in a new and original way to tell a new story, one that is growing stronger as the series continues.

Clive Arrant leads Gilbert and Peter off to find out what it was Fawkes saw in the woods and finds the fire the alien set in Mrs. Swagger’s house. Being a wise old dog, he realizes that it was not your standard fire and sets out to figure out what did the damage. There are further hints that, whatever his career was, it did not run quite the straightforwardly heroic way the people of Wild’s End assume. The character development Abnett provides moves this story well out of the realm of a gimmick and into that of new art. These may be animal-people, and he is very much working with the types—his reclusive, feisty author is a cat—but he is giving them their own voices and personalities, making the anthropomorphizing a strength. He also mixes in some dark humor at unexpected moments.

Arrant is making a good showing as a detective, following through on the clues and thinking things through. There is an odd moment when he locks a creature capable of starting a fire in a woodshed without determining whether it is actually dead or not, but other than that, he and the others proceed with a fair combination of thoughtfulness and making-it-up-as-they go, which one rather expects frome people encountering an alien invasion.

I.N.J. Culbard draws the citizens of Wild’s End well, mixing their human and animal traits and avoiding the uncanny valley. They stand as personalities, not oddities. In keeping with the book’s events, Wild’s End and its surroundings are considerably darker than in the first issue, taking place against a backdrop of fire or in nighttime’s darkness.

As before, there are additional texts after the issue’s story finishes. This time, it is a section of Susan Peardew’s entries, making it likely that she will be a major character in the upcoming issues, which is welcome.

Wild’s End is recommended for those who love stories of alien invasions, small town life disturbed, or who like the blend of human and animal traits found in books like The Wind in the Willows.

Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: I.N.J. Culbard
Letters: I.N.J. Culbard
Covers: I.N.J. Culbard, Jeff Lemire

 

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