Set during the American Dark Ages, Image Comics new series Blackacre is a fun dystopian thriller written by Duffy Boudreau and penciled by Wendell Cavalcanti.
One hundred years from now as the economic climate in America hits a critical decline, an elite city-state is erected by a consortium called Excorp in the foot-hills of the northern Rockies. Blackacre is “the mother of all gated communities” designed to keep the poor and disfranchised out. As America plummeted further into roaming hordes of barbarian tribes, the Blackacre community flourished. Auxiliary Captain Hull is a bred soldier of Blackacre, raised from childhood to defend the city, and finds himself after 12 years of service finally being taken off the wall that surrounds Blackacre. During his “retirement” celebration, Hull is confronted by one of the community’s leaders, Executor Terrance Sinclair. Sinclair informs Hull that in order to ensure the survival of Blackacre, a proactive approach towards developing space and resources is required. This is achieved by sending operatives into the outlying barbaric wastes of America and performing various scouting, sabotage and assassination missions to keep the poor masses disorganized. One such operative is Greene, an old comrade of Hull’s from the wall. Turns out Greene has gone missing in the wastes for over two weeks and Sinclair is enlisting Hull’s help to track him down and bring him home. Hull hops at the chance to save his friend; his ties to his fellow soldiers is something he holds dear above all else, even Blackacre itself. The issue ends with our hero gearing up to traverse the apocalyptic countryside in search for Greene. But what Hull is unaware of, which Sinclair narrates to us as readers, is that Greene seems to have gone rogue and Sinclair has attached an explosive to Hull’s tracking device to utilize our hero as a human bomb and kill Greene in the wastes.
Holy Shit! Big shadowy evil corporate government? Apocalyptic bandits and blood-feuding? Occult holy wars? Sign me up! Boudreau’s story is enthralling from start to finish, the above stated twist had me exclaiming allowed. And Cavalcanti’s artwork works great with the story. His pacing and framing of each panel carries a lot of weight to the overall experience. Only critique is that many of the faces seem a bit to similar, making it hard to differentiate characters at first. Blackacre is a title I highly recommend for all sci-fi loving, dystopian enthusing, and thrill ride seeking nerds out there. Pick it up before they’re all gone. Blackacre has already sold out at the distributor’s level!