POST AMERICANA #1/ Story and Art by STEVE SKROCE/ Colors by DAVE STEWART/ Letters and Design by FONOGRAFIKS/ Published by IMAGE COMICS
You wouldn’t think there would be much call for dystopian entertainment after the armpit of a year that was 2020. I was one of the few PC gamers to not rush to download Cyberpunk 2070 and then rush to demand a refund, primarily because I play video games to escape from reality and most of my past year as a librarian working remotely has played out like a William Gibson novel. I mention this because a book like Post Americana was about the last thing I wanted to read this month, yet I find myself glad that I did.
As the title suggests, our setting is America after the apocalypse. The nation is still divided into haves and have nots, with a chosen elite safely sealed inside underground bunkers living a life of luxury, as the huddled masses on the surface are descending into barbarism, if not outright cannibalism. The animals are mutating, supplies are scarce and it seems like humanity’s best days are behind it.
Our point of view character is Mike; a third generation member of the working-class folks allowed to live in an underground city called The Bubble in exchange for taking care of the elites who paid for it to be built. With The Bubble’s insane new President deciding they need to declare war on the wasteland and rebuild the United States (naturally with an army conscripted from the working classes) Mike and a few others chose to rebel. The events of the first issue lead to Mike’s escaping The Bubble, seeing how bad the wasteland is and joining forces with Carolyn; a katana-wielding mercenary hired to kill all the bad people who are robbing and raping all the decent communities in the California wasteland… including the group of raiders that finds Mike, whom she had infiltrated from within.
If this story sounds vaguely familiar, that’s not surprising. Elements of Steve Skroce’s script seem to have been lifted wholesale from other works of post-apocalyptic fiction. (Mike is even wearing a blue jumpsuit reminiscent of the various Vault Suits from the Fallout games!) The characters are all cardboard cut-outs whose personalities can be defined with links to various TV Tropes pages. Mike’s the well-meaning screw-up way out of his depth. Carolyn is the tough-as-nails woman of few words.
What sets Post Americana apart is Skroce’s artwork, which shows an amazing amount of detail and development. The general look seems more like something out of 2000 AD or Metal Hurlant than Image Comics; visceral with lots of heavily defined violence and intricate linework. Dave Stewart’s colors are equally phenomenal, with the backgrounds largely defined in muted shades making the blood and brightness of those things born of The Bubble stand out all the more.
Post Americana‘s first issue is serviceable, if unoriginal. It’s possible Skroce’s story could move in unexpected directions in later issues. Even if it does not, the action is solid enough and the excellent artwork is reason enough to continue reading this series, which reads like a good piece of Fallout fan-fiction.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Originally, this review mistakenly said Carolyn’s character was never identified by name in the comic. The review has been corrected. We apologize for the mistake.