Comics: The Wilds #2 - Reviewed

In 2014 the BBC aired a David Attenborough documentary, in which a fungus took over the minds of ants, remote controlling them towards the tree tops so that they could sprout and spread their spores. This concept of fungus, or just nature generally, taking over the minds of animals and people has become firmly rooted into our collective imaginations ever since. The PlayStation game The Last of Us is a great example of this, in which the life cycle of a fungus relies on a human host, turning them into aggressive zombie like creatures. The host bites and therefore spreads the first stage of the infection. Eventually the individual becomes bloated with the next generation, finds a quiet place to lie down, and pops out it’s payload of spores. Fungus zombies are undeniably a great idea, but I can’t help but feel this is just a slight re-branding of the overused and underwhelming zombie trope that has saturated our screens for the past couple of decades.

All that being said, The Last of Us took over my life last year, and became one of my favorite all time titles. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t have to be fresh to be fun; 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead, World War Z, Left 4 Dead 2 are all titles that I adore. I was hoping that The Wilds would bring the same level of drama, excitement and horror. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

Written by Vita Alaya and illustrated by Emily Pearson, The Wilds is sadly more Fear the Walking Dead than The Walking Dead. It felt like an afterthought, piggybacking a ride on more established titles. The plot is exhaustingly worn out, as is the dialogue. I found myself wanting to take a shotgun to the roof of my mouth lest the boredom infect my otherwise stimulated brain. It plays out like a forum fan fiction, as opposed to a published title. We are introduced to the entirety of the plot early on, which is a missed opportunity, as an air of mystery may have benefited the story and kept my intrigue for an extra 30 seconds.

A chemical weapon has been deployed for unknown reasons, which means that people sprout flowers on their face thus becoming aggressive, bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase flower power. The depiction of these zombie plant people is disappointing. I would have loved to see a gruesome creature, layered with mushrooms and tangled roots, bleeding and rotting. Pearson had an entire natural world to draw from, she could have utilized a multitude of different natural oddities. I wanted to be unsettled and grossed out. What I got was a simply drawn person with the same flower copied and pasted into random locations around their face. The art style is reminiscent of power point clip art.

I will always try to find the positives in art. Graphic novels are not easy to make, occasionally artists swing and miss, but you can usually still see what they were trying to achieve. I can normally see a potential target audience, even if it is not directly appealing to me. The Wilds doesn’t even have that. I cannot imagine a group of people that might tolerate such a low quality. It is a vapid attempt at cashing in on a small piece of the zombie pie. Insufficient story telling combined with a childish art style makes this title a no go for any self respecting consumer. 

-Daniel Roberts