When I met the guys from Oni at HeroesCon, I mentioned that I was really excited about Ray Fawkes and Cameron Stewart’s upcoming graphic novel, The Apocalipstix, and that I’d actually looking forward to it ever since the first time it was solicited back in May of 2007.
I’ll admit, when it was finally resolicited a couple months ago, my mood could best be described as “cautious optimism,” but it looks like the cautious part was unnecessary, since they sent me a review copy of the first volume to read once I’d gotten home.
And I can confirm that it is indeed super awesome
Well, that’s actually exactly what it is. And even better, if you don’t count the issue where Josie gets possessed, it combines the best aspects of both.
The plot goes like this: After World War III hits with a nuclear bang while Mandy and the Mittens are on tour, the three-piece all-girl rock group not only survive the firestorm, but emerge into an atomic wasteland full of mutants, street-pirates and a surprising number of other surviving rock bands, where the gas they need for their last great cross-country tour can only be obtained by rocking out, ditching their previous name and emerging as…
Me, I woulda gone with “Hooray For Gooba,” but whatcha gonna do?
That, of course, is Mandy in the front, who fulfills the combined Josie/Valerie role as the tough-as-nails lead singer/guitarist/rock goddess, with gun-slinging and perpetually subtitled drummer Megumi on the left. On the right is Dot, who, aside from playing guitar instead of drums, is pretty much a one-for-one analogue of Melody Valentine transplanted into a post-apocalyptic wasteland in which hijinx ensue.
And ensue they do, and Fawkes does a great job of keeping things moving at a pretty breakneck clip. The first volume–and according to the last page, it is the first volume, hopefully of a bunch–is divided up into three chapters, kicking off with a high-speed gun-toting chase on the ruins of a highway and closing out with a Thunderdomesque Battle of the Bands. And really, the fact that I just used the word “Thunderdomesque” to describe it probably makes this one of the greatest comics ever just on general principle.
As for the art, I think it’s pretty self-evident from the guy’s body of work that his art’s pretty awesome, and there’s nothing in The Apocalipstix that contradicts that. He’s one of the few artists I can think of that can pull off stuff that’s deceptively cartoony, but still incredibly expressive and detailed, and–especially in the last chapter–it’s all on display here. Even the neat tricks that I’ve seen before, like the skull-shaped mushroom cloud in the opening, are done just about perfectly.
But really, there’s pretty much just one thing you need to see to convince you that this one’s worth picking up, and that is this:
That is the lead singer of an all-girl post-apocalyptic rock band Dragon Punching a giant mutated ant, and by pretty much any definition of the word, that is radical.
A review copy of The Apocalipstix was provided by the just and benevolent publishers for the purposes of review and general enjoyment. It should be hitting your local comic book store soon with a list price of $11.95, and it’s currently available for pre-order on Amazon.