Vault Comics 2019
Written by Michael Moreci & Gary Dauberman
Illustrated by Zak Harton
Coloured by Addison Duke
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Here in the heartland of the U.S. of A., the world has ended! But worry not, because the mall still stands. And within the walls of this consumerism mecca lies a new world order: box store tribes and name brand gangs, all vying for limited space and resources. So, actually…you can worry! Especially for poor Andre Reed, who—after the assassination of a tribal leader—has to navigate the mad haven to prove his innocence, and prevent the end of the world, again!
Alright I am intrigued but I am definitely going to need more before I can fully commit to this. The concept is okay and we've seen it before, mainly in zombie films or that telly series of The Fog where the Mall becomes a safe haven for those survivors. I don't mind skipping how the world ended and the introduction through narration is done extremely well for me. The city burns in the distance but this Mall survives unscathed, suspending disbelief is fine it's a comic book after all it doesn't have to be iron clad explanation.
After that we see the narration continue but we also see a girl with a baby and have it taken from her. I am not a fan of this and more so because it feels too random like the narration would support this but it's an extreme example and it's disturbing for all the wrong reasons. Those two pages I could have done without and instead focused on Andre and how he got into that room with the dead man. For my money someone drugged him and set him up so they'd find him in there and the most logical train of thought is the person who found him there being the guilty party.
I am a little confused by the way the book is structured. I think we go too quickly through some of this instead of taking the time for us to let things sink in. Also how is it that everyone went all Escape From New York living in the Mall? Where does their food come from? Is there agriculture or are we to believe that the food court has been feeding them all this time? The idea of gangs forming from the survivors in the mall is one thing but if generations have passed I need to know and see more because this feels like it should be set shortly after it all went down.
I am kind of digging the interiors here. The style feels current and while not unique to Zak it feels on trend. Though I will say there is some really nice attention to detail here that I find extremely appealing, for example the old man boobs and oxygen tank yeah. His daughter and the craziness of those masked guys there is a lot of great creativity and imagination that we see here. The gangs and where they are based and what they are based on yeah I am pretty impressed. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a good strong eye for storytelling. They are in a mall so really I think backgrounds should be focused on more because I don't feel like we're in a mall at all. The colour work is solid stuff. I would like to see more colour blocking or gradation being utilised and I don't see where the light sources are coming from so there really isn't much in the way of shading and shadows.
This is the kind of book where you give it like three issues to impress you. The premise drew me in but the quality and level of work hasn't made me an instant fan. This means a few more issues to see where it's going and how well it's going. There is some great promise here and that's important and I'm hoping that this all gels together soon. I'll give it to Vault though for seeing the potential and giving us the chance to see that for ourselves.