cover by: Natasha Alterici

Writer: Vita Ayala — @definitelyvita 
 Artist: Emily Pearson — @emishlyart
 Preorder Date: 2/5/2018
 Release Date: 2/28/2018
 Black Mask Studios, 29 pp.

In a world ravaged by a strange disease that turns humans into walking, blooming, abominations, Daisy is senior runner for a compound; gathering supplies on contract for a closed (and relatively safe) community. Returning from a run, she encounters a stranger, a researcher from another community. Tensions are high at home; and Daisy faces choices about where she belongs and who she is to the compound. Her contract is up, she could leave, be free of running — but the world has ended and Daisy’s can’t seem to quit running just yet. The Wilds, after all, are creeping ever closer.

THE WILDS reminds us there is beauty in the end of the world. Those infected with the disease bloom, rather than decay as is so often the case in pop culture renditions of the zombie apocalypse. Pearson’s art possesses a beautiful quality that matches the ruggedness of the world presented through Ayala’s sharp and clever prose. Together they, along with the rest of THE WILDS team, draw the reader into a world full of uncertainty and base human emotion.

I am not a huge fan of zombies, the horror genre has never really been my favorite. I don’t like gore and I don’t like the gratuitous suffering that seems to walk hand and hand with many horror comics that deal with zombies. THE WILDS does neither of these things, which improved my reading experience greatly. I enjoy a good adventure story, and the themes of humans confronting both their own humanity and the monstrousness of what all lurks inside us. THE WILDS is unique in how Ayala has written the story to straddle this genre divide of interest/non-interest for me, which is what makes the book good and one I will continue to read.

As representation in comics is a topic on everyone’s mind, I should note that THE WILDS focuses on people of color, with a queer lead. Neither of these details are unique, and fold easily into the fabric of the story. Ayala and Pearson present a story that twists the familiar and presents it in a new and interesting way. The story beats may be similar to genre fans, but the focus on women and the beauty captured in the world, to my admittedly limited reading in this genre, sets THE WILDS apart. I would recommend to those who’ve enjoyed the recent runs of female-centric horror/adventure comics.

The last day to pre-order the book at your local comic shop is 2/5/2018, with the book releasing at the end of the month, 2/28/2018. Consider pre-ordering and subscribing and support a story with good representation, created by awesome people.

(Full credits: Writer: Vita Ayala / Artist: Emily Pearson / Colors: Marissa Louise / Letterer: Jim Campbell)