Book 1 of Once Upon a Time at the End of the World is over. “Love in the Wasteland” introduced us to Mezzy and Maceo and showed us how they survived and eventually fell in love in a world of post-apocalyptic horror and ruin. Now, with issue #6, we begin Book 2, “The Rise and Fall of Golgonooza,” where we get to see our heroes try to build a new world.
A few years have passed, and Mezzy and Maceo are a bit older. This new chapter in the story and in their lives is marked by a different illustrator, a different colorist, and a different overall visual style. There are, however, a couple of brief flashbacks done by the illustrator and colorist from Book 1. I’ve seen other comics do this, and I think it makes for a cool storytelling technique.
The other thing that marks our heroes’ journey into adulthood is a whole lot of sex. Really, just tons of sex. Close to half the issue is Mezzy and Maceo having sex and/or talking about sex—including a bit of full-frontal cartoon nudity. So, yeah, probably not for kids, but then again, we’re six issues in. If you’ve been on board since the beginning, then you got the “not for kids” memo ages ago.
In between sexy times, our heroes journey across the land, looking for the Oasis—the one habitable place left on Earth – which Mezzy tortured a man to get the directions to. They look high and low, far and wide, and the journey takes them years, with no end in sight. Will they ever find it? Does it even exist? Or should they just give up and build a home for themselves wherever they happen to be?
In addition to the change in art style, there’s also a distinct tonal shift in the writing for this issue. The Grumpy/Sunshine vibe that drew me into Book 1 appears to have evaporated as the pair have grown and matured. The story also doesn’t really have the humor or the silliness that the previous volume had.
Even so, though, it’s still compelling and well-written. Book 2 isn’t the same as Book 1, but it’s still worth reading. I can’t wait to see how things play out.
Creative Team: Jason Aaron (written by), Leila del Duca (illustrated by), Alexandre Tefenkgi (illustrated by, pages 1 & 26), Tamra Bonvillain (colored by), Lee Loughridge (colored by, pages 1 & 26), Kevin Wada (main cover by)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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