If you like your post apocalyptic worlds complete with wild mutant monsters, cannibals and sexual innuendo I’m more than certain you’d like Sally of the Wasteland, a recently collected five issue series out March 25…but is it good?
Sally of the Wasteland (Titan Comics)
Victor Gischler writers what is a rather solid story about a group of misfits and fishermen who attempt to find the source of power that is more powerful than anyone has seen for 80 years since the fall of society. The story focuses on Sally and her crush Tommy as they journey from Baton Rouge to New Orleans and face off against mutant beasts, cannibals and pirates. I’ve seen it compared to Mad Max and in some ways it is similar. There’s a sense of humor amongst the violence, and nearly the entire 128 page story is a chase sequence as time runs out to reach the power source. At the same time though, there’s a lot more variety to this story, with different types of monstrosities introduced and a cute puppy love story between Sally and Tommy that keeps things light.
Eyeballs really loosen up when you’re a mutant.
I’m sure most are getting sick of this genre, but Gischler varies the enemies enough to keep things interesting. The action sequences are good and varied across the original five issues, taking us on boat heists, crumbled city shootouts and crawgator attacks. The focus is more so about the attacks Sally and her compatriots must face over any driving force to find out why society has fallen, but this also means a lack of character development. In other words, peg this one an action/adventure and you’ll be fine.
Thankfully Sally isn’t a flat and pointless character though, as she tends to have a cracking wit and plenty of one liners to keep her fresh. The opportunity to stick her in gratuitous poses and sexual situations is used, but it’s tastefully done rather than exploitive. There are full frontal and topless scenes but they happen for realistic reasons rather than your typical comic book scenes of women bending over or fighting with their breasts at odd angles. In most of these scenes she’s a strong willed character who is well aware of her nakedness, which makes this story feel more adult and, ultimately, more believable. It could have easily gone into a pervy territory, but Gischler tends to lean her more in the direction of extremist nut than sexpot.
Crawgators are freaky!
Sally has a Harley Quinn vibe to her in her joy of weaponry and killing as well as her sense of humor, which tends to give her a cartoon character sort of feel. Even her sometimes irrational love of Tommy is similar to Harley’s love of Joker but Gischler keeps her grounded with moments of doubt or fear so she’s not a cartoon character at all times, but it does make her a little less realistic. That said, her mega crush on Tommy is a welcome sight as female characters are typically the ones being lusted after in comics and not the other way around. This makes her a bit more of a hero women could enjoy too.
I can’t say her crush works all that well throughout the story though. Tommy never really gets that Sally likes her, which makes you wonder if he’s gay or just slow throughout the story, but when he does end up reciprocating there isn’t much of an explanation beyond him being ignorant. This leaves the reader wondering if there was something left on the table as far as story goes. Gischler uses Sally’s undying love for Tommy as a way to instill humor in the book, which doesn’t work for the most part. Okay, we get it, he’s clueless and she wishes she could bone him. It’s not very funny the first time, let alone the 40th.
The art by Tazio Bettin is great, with some exceptional character and costume design. His crawgators are incredibly imaginative and fun to look at, and the action always seems to work even with behemoths like crawgators taking up the page. It’s not always the case, but some scenes give off a Bryan Hitch vibe to me, especially with faces and detail in how Bettin draws the human form. I’m also grateful that Bettin didn’t go overboard with exploitive upskirts from the females or any odd inhuman poses either. When there was any sexuality on the page it was purposeful and classy which is a nice change of pace when you consider most comics these days.
Man he just doesn’t get it does he?
Is It Good?
Overall this is a fantastic action series with plenty of surprises, fun character moments and tasteful use of nudity.