This book right now is my current favorite one in mainstream comics. When Jason Aaron is on his A Game, he crushes it.
Once Upon A Time At The End of The World
Written by Jason Aaron
Illustrated by Alexandre Tefenkgi
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Editor: Allyson Gronowitz
Publisher: Boom Studios!
Once Upon a Time at the end of the world is ultimately a teenage love story. The story begins with Mezzy wandering the post-apocalyptic wasteland and finding herself heading into this building. Inside the building, Maceo is all alone in the tower and watches this masked person try to invade his home. Tentacles creatures try to snatch Mezzy up, and when she kills one, and Maceo realizes that this is a girl and not an acid swamper, he makes his first life-changing descision. He steps in and lets her inside.
Once inside, the two briefly get to know each other. It’s clear to Mezzy after a little bit that Maceo has been in the tower alone for a long time. After recouping, Mezzy leaves, deciding not to live in a cage, and Maceo makes the decision to follow her.
Issue two is very much Maceo trying to convince Mezzy to travel together. Mezzy has a litany of survival skills and Maceo seems to have none until it’s revealed that Maceo has a gift for putting together tools and machines. It changes Mezzy’s opinion of him, and Maceo slowly starts to grow on her. Together they journey off.
I need to point out that while this is a simple plot, it’s both characters that make this story sing. Mezzy is a no-nonsense survivor in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. In short, she is nothing more than a badass in the apocalypse. Maceo is a sheltered boy at the end of the world. He’s innocent-seeming, and there’s a charm in that naivete. That said, both characters have secrets. Maceo’s parents have been dead for a long time. In the first issue, you see Maceo talking to his mom and dad. At first, you thought they might be in the tower. Later you realize that they are dead and the reveal is heartbreaking.
As for Mezzy, the light-heartedness of Maceo makes her question her purpose. She was part of a cult of some kind that worshipped her. She’s a chosen one of some kind, and she cares about that, but being around Maceo makes her relax and enjoy herself. There is a charm to their growing friendship, and you can see the seeds of a relationship start to form. These little moments are what make this story brilliant. Jason Aaron does a wonderful job humanizing both of them in fun ways.
Alexandre Tefenkgi is having a blast illustrating it. Post-apocalyptic worlds are generally fun to create and imagine, and a sense of vibrancy reminds me a bit of Kamandi. Loughridge should be credited as well as the colors are vibrant when they need to be and dark when the moments call for it.
In short, this book is incredibly satisfying to read and the emotional investment in the story is fantastic and that’s a credit to the whole team. I’m in on this book until it ends. It’s not a plot you haven’t seen before, but it’s so well done. Kudos to the team for a fantastic book.
Last time in the column I talked about podcast goals. You can go here to read about my writing goals. Once this column is finished, the big work begins. I’m working on a few different projects writing-wise. I’ve been slack getting this video series ready to be released on a regular basis, but now that this is done, or at least on a schedule, I can focus on getting that work done. I have a lot of goals this year, and it’ll be gone.
On the other side of the coin, if you are interested in my video work, you can check out my advertising pages, or my youtube channel to see what is happening. I get to finally start updating the channel on a more regular basis again.
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That will do it for the column. I got a book from Kurt Zauer I’m dying to talk about. That will finally happen next week. Until then, stay inspired.