Writer: Dave Cook
Artist/Letters: Christ O’Toole
Cover: Craig Paton
I really enjoyed Bust #1 and as you can imagine, the delay of Bust 2:Wasteland Ronin getting out after backing the Kickstarter had me chomping at the bit to get my teeth in there, so would it deliver?
Well, may I just say at first skim, the artwork by Chris O’Toole has really found it’s groove! While I am still not a fan of his faces, his layouts and action work really well and his scenery work is lovely!
Costumes and vehicles evoke Mad Max and his finishing work (inking and colours) really makes it pop out, though the lettering could be better.
The story itself finds us now following Jack after having destroyed an empire by killing it’s figure head, descending the lands into anarchy. Cook quickly establishes Jacks feelings of guilt over this and need to find redemption in a cruel world he no longer fits in – hence the ronin title he now deserves.
Not only does he quickly show The character’s brutality in dealing with injustice, but also just how broken he is at the loss of his family – all done in one touching scene with a prostitute he regularly shacks up with for comfort (of the emotional kind).
You could jump into this comic without ever reading the first one without feeling too lost, but it does follow on beautifully from the first. Cook has the ability to craft the stories so that they are as much stand alone as they are a following plot line.
A little confusion comes with the introduction of a masked character Smiler… I enjoy the character, but unmasked I get the idea he is supposed to be a bit freakish… yet I didn’t see anything freakish about him. There seemed to be some scarring on his neck… but this could visually have been made a bit clearer perhaps… seems like a missed opportunity to really make something stand out but it doesn’t quite grab. I am not sure whether this is intentional or not however as half of the face is in shadow under hair so perhaps there is a further unveiling to be had?
Still, the action is exciting and there are a few card shark related one liners thrown in for our protagonist that made me smile! There is a decent amount of visceral gore and violence without it over crowding the story itself, so not one for the kiddies!
The introduction of tech-savvy Lily is a nice touch, and a good positive balance to Jacks guilt and self loathing. With her introduction we also learn that not only has the world order changed, but the plague that has been causing zombie like human mutants has moved on to the wildlife instead – another game changer. I don’t want to spoil too much story, but it flows easily and keeps up a good pace.
It leaves a good cliff hanger and I think that anyone who enjoys films like Mad Max, or Doomsday ought to dig Bust. It is one I will continue to follow!
Overall rating? a solid 7/10