The Bunker #1 Review: One of the Best Post-Apocalyptic Stories… that Hasn’t Happened Yet
A gripping and unique story with a cast of compelling characters equates to The Bunker
, a pleasant surprise of a comic about a group of teenagers who cause the end of the world… which hasn’t happened. Yet
The apocalypse is going to happen because of a group of teenagers? Why am I not surprised… Originally a hit digital comic, this double-sized debut issue of The Bunker
starts in present day when five college friends find an abandoned bunker. Inside they find four letters, each one claiming to be from their future selves. Apparently the future isn’t looking so good. It’s pretty apocalyptic actually. Now these kids have to figure out whether or not to believe the letters and do (or not do) what they tell them to. The fate of the world may be at stake.
The beginning of this issue is not a good representation of the comic as a whole. It doesn’t start out that great, with a group of unlikable kids swearing every panel. However, writer Joshua Hale Fialkov makes you interested in these characters. You probably won’t like most of them, but they are fascinating and Fialkov makes you become invested in their futures. Several of them are even sympathetic, especially characters like Heidi whose connection to the apocalypse appears flimsy at best but it’s so good I didn’t even care. I also really like the uncomfortable relationship with Grady and Billy and I’m looking forward to seeing how their characters in particular develop.
This comic is complex. It’s not really the story that makes it hard to follow at times, but the fact that we keep switching from the present to the future and there are five different main characters to focus on. This complication can be bad or good for readers. This comic may require many readers to read it multiple times so they can understand every detail, which some people aren’t willing to do. I usually don’t re-read comics but because this one had such a compelling story I do want to re-read it, which is quite a feat.
One nitpick I had which does hurt the readability of the story (and insures at least re-reading some pages of the issue) is the fact that the narration is in cursive. This writing can be difficult to read but I got used to it about half-way through. However, I think it would have been a good idea to change the style of the narration when a different character is reading their letter from the future because they should each have different handwriting. Also, that way we will know right away which letter we are reading without Fialkov having to tell us.
The art from Joe Infurnari is appropriate but definitely an acquired taste. There’s a lot of line work, yet not a lot of detail in the characters and backgrounds, which are usually bland colors. However, these bland colors usually work to the comic’s advantage. They perpetuate the dreary apocalyptic mood of the future, especially the page with decrepit buildings. Though when the backgrounds are just a pure white color it does feel pointless and doesn’t really add to the mood.
Don’t pick this book up for basically non-existent zombies but for the mysteries abundant in the story and to find out what happens to this group of somewhat unlikable characters that you will find yourself strangely attached to. But the impatient be warned: to truly appreciate this you may have to read it a couple of times. For me, it was worth it to piece together this fascinating mystery.