Meet Gus. He’s the survivor of an apocalypse he doesn’t fully understand, mainly because his father has protected him from the world his entire life. There was a virus, and those who are left like to hunt, kill, or use in any way they see fit kids like Gus. Meaning kids who are part human and part animal. When Gus’s father dies, his story really begins.
This first batch of issues mostly consists of setup. It’s great setup that showcases a fascinating world, a couple of engaging characters, some harsh dystopic/apocalyptic fare, and promises more greatness to come. But like any story, this is the part you have to get through to get to the good stuff. The reassuring thing is it starts getting to the good stuff about halfway through. There’s no need to wonder if the second volume will be better, because it’s practically assured it will be.
I’ve read a lot of “after the end” stories that use a virus as their catalyst. Refreshingly, this one brings something new to the table: Gus. The mere existence of Gus and the hints that there are others like him (though they take other bestial shapes) is very intriguing and unlike anything I’ve seen done in this genre. An argument could be made for everything else being done or seen before, but certainly not that, and I think it’s enough to sustain a story, especially with the hints of the virus and Gus’s kind being linked.
The artwork lies more on the cartoon side of things than the photo-realistic, but it works. The grisly moments are no less grisly, the emotion no less affecting, and there is a lot of surprising beauty here. Lemire left me staring at certain panels, just trying to absorb and memorize, flipping through more than once to revisit his art.
This is only the beginning, and the beginning was enough to make me want to pursue more.