Wild’s End #1
Created by Dan Abnett & I.N.J. Culbard
Written by Dan Abnett
Illustrated & Lettered by I.N.J. Culbard
Review by Joey Braccino
Chapter One – The Village Fete
It’s half past midnight on Hightop Wood, which is not that far from Lower Crowchurch, and Fawkes and Bodie are strolling along when—KKTOOOOM—a shooting star shoots and falls from the sky! The next day, in Crowchurch, Gilbert Arrant and Peter Minks welcome Mr. Slipaway to town and invite him to the next meeting of the Committee for the Annual Fete. The two threads intersect and the mysteries of the shooting star and the new Mr. Slipaway weave together in the profoundly engaging and intriguing Wild’s End #1.
Did I mention that Fawkes is a Fox and Mr. Slipaway is a dog and Gilbert Arrant is a white rabbit? Because all of the characters in Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard’s new series from BOOM! Studios is an anthropomorphic animal of some sort. And they all have delightful English accents and a distinct 1900s fashion sense. The subtle blend of sci-fi and mystery is perfect for the creative team; Abnett is known for his work reviving Marvel’s galactic line in the mid-2000s and Culbard has illustrated several Sherlock Holmes stories as graphic novels.
Abnett has an uncanny knack for characterization and voice, capturing and emphasizing the eccentricities of each character over the course of the debut issue. Mr. Slipaway in particular is a riveting character, whose quiet voice is juxtaposed with his imposing stature and shady past in the military. The cliffhanger ending is shocking and violent and definitely promises a thrilling story over the course of the series’ 6 issues.
Culbard’s pulpy throwback style bridges the detective story with the fable-esque characters. Think Fantastic Mr. Fox meets Chris Samnee and you’ve got Culbard’s work on Wild’s End. Culbard also pulls Lettering Duty, which is especially impressive considering the detail with which Culbard matches lettering with character. From the start of the issue, Slipaway’s voice is presented as smaller letters in a standard sized bubble; when Slipaway resolutely stands up to Arrant during the committee meeting, the letters grow in size. It’s a subtle move, but speaks to Culbard’s attention to artistic details.
Check it out! Wild’s End is an intriguing new series from BOOM! Studios. Creators Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard do a wonderful job of introducing a variety of genre conventions—the animals of a fable, the mystery of a detective story, the technology of sci-fi—over the course of this packed debut issue, and I’m quite excited to see where the series goes over the next few months! Check it!