Wild’s End: The Enemy Within #1 Review

I didn’t catch this unique series the first time around, but the 6 issue sequel piqued my attention, due to the praise that the initial mini-series received. Here’s BOOM Studios’ official description.

What’s to Love: The first Wild’s End miniseries kept us in constant suspense with its unlikely mash-up of War of the Worlds and The Wind in the Willows. We’re holding our collective breaths once again as author Dan Abnett (Guardians of the Galaxy) and illustrator I.N.J. Culbard (The King in Yellow) are set to play with the paranoia and “enemy amongst us” conspiracy theories prevalent in stories we love like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The X-Files.

What It Is: As Clive, Susan, Fawkes, and the other survivors of the alien invasion of Lower Crowchurch try to cope with what just happened to their small town, the military arrives in an attempt to cover up the “incident.” Town residents are immediately detained, questioned, and treated with suspicion. Are they alien spies, collaborators, sympathizers? Clive and the rest will need to escape imprisonment if they’re to get the word out and warn the rest of the world in case the aliens return.

The tagline is “Wind of the Willows meets War of the Worlds,” and that’s an apt and charming description, but it’s more than that. Writer Dan Abnett (who revitalised the Guardians of the Galaxy with co-writer Andy Lanning) and artist I.N.J Culbard have crafted an impressive world which is very serious. Don’t let the anthropomorphic approach fool you into thinking it’s a whimsical tale full of cute characters.

It is set two weeks after the the first series, but all you need to know is woven throughout this debut issue. Abnett has the dialogue spot-on, and there’s a lot of it, but it’s so charming and authentic. It’s like something lifted from Hollywood’s Golden Age, especially a sequence early on as two science fiction writers get to know each other on a train as they are drawn into a conspiracy.

Culbard’s art (more to see here) is clean and the variety and expression with which the characters are given is very impressive. They all have personalities, and combined with Abnett’s wonderful dialogue and tense story, it makes for a tautly constructed mystery amongst a backdrop of talking animals and countryside charm.

Wilds End 1

Wilds End p1

Wilds End p2

Wilds End p4

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