Monday, May 19, 2014

Dust: Withered Earth by James Ninness and John Narcomey

Post-apocalyptic science fiction is certainly in vogue in comics right now, with a number of titles featuring this subgenre, such as East of West, the new Tank Girl series, the on-again/off-again mini-series Zombies vs. Robots, and the epic Wasteland, which is swiftly approaching its conclusion.  It seems that, as the subgenre becomes more popular, people are looking for more ways to make their post-apocalyptic fiction stand out, leading to bizarre imaginings and oddball stories, both good and bad.

Dust: Withered Earth collects issues #0-6 of the comic DUST, telling the Western-inspired tale of two people travelling across the American southwest in an attempt to get to San Francisco and save the world.  Jim is a loner, who travels along with his imaginary friend, while Deborah is part of a scientific group hoping to re-establish crops in the area and provide food for the starving.  Their journey takes them through desolate land, dealing with larger than life vagabonds, crazed cannibals, and multiple solicitations of prostitution.

Dust: Withered Earth isn’t a bad story by any means, but its quirks seem less central to the story than just a way to try to stand out from the pack of post-apocalyptic comics, and the writing successfully tells the story without really ever gripping the reader.  The art, too proves to be a little lackluster.  The book could have succeed if one of those two elements was better, but without that it just doesn’t make itself worth going out of your way for.

Readers who are interested in the post-apocalyptic Western may want to seek this out, but even in that sub-subgenre there are better comics to seek out.

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