Blackacre is a new series from Image, which brings an unapologetic political slant to the typical post-apocalyptic scenario played out in many contemporary works of fiction. It’s an interesting and certainly bold take on the genre, and it gives the series something to distinguish it from the get-go. Beyond that, issue #1 smartly focuses on establishing characters and setting, and ends with a twist that will entice readers to pick up the next issue. All in all, it’s a textbook opening issue to what looks like an intriguing new series.
WRITTEN BY: Duffy Boudreau
ART BY: Wendell Cavalcanti
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: December 5th, 2012
“Blackacre” might be the first comic I’ve read to mention zombies and pirates within the first five pages, and then go in a completely different direction without either of these pop culture staples and be better off for it. Duffy Boudreau’s script opens with a lecture from a professor far in the future, explaining just what led to the collapse of the United States the century prior. It’s unabashedly political, with not-so-subtle references to the growing financial inequality within America and the “1%”, the paranoid obsession of the religious right, and the infamous private security force formerly known as Blackwater, which is undoubtedly where “Blackacre” derives its title.
All of this serves to give “Blackacre” its own identity within comics, but beyond the opening few pages this doesn’t really factor into the plot aside from setting up an apocalyptic wasteland. From there on, we are introduced to a world of privilege and a world of suffering, characters we can empathize with on both sides, as well as characters we’ll come to despise. By the end, there’s an evident conspiracy afoot, and that will be enough to make you come back for more. But it’s a fairly basic plot that be indistinguishable if not for the opening.
Wendell Cavalcanti’s art can be good, but there are a few too many instances where characters just look weird or disproportionate. His environments are good, and his sleek, crisp approach to his visuals fits in with the military themes of the script. By and large, his work on the characters is solid. But still, seeing a dude’s eyeball rise up to their forehead every now and then is rather unsettling.
“Blackacre” manages to establish the setting and characters of its plot rather quickly, which is to be commended. However, its strongest – or at least most intriguing – attribute is its connection to contemporary politics, and that was essentially abandoned after the opening speech. I suspect that this is because it simply isn’t possible to set up a good story and to engage in political commentary at the same time. That’s understandable, and hopefully upcoming issues will explore this element further. Few comics attempt to engage in political commentary, and even less do it well.
Reviewed by – George Shunick