BEAST WAGON Baby­lon Zoo

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! Pub­lisher Changeling stu­dios

Writer Owen Michael John­son Artist John Pear­son

Feast­ing and for­ni­ca­tion – that’s all life boils down to ac­cord­ing to this vis­ceral, hot-blooded se­ries. Ini­tially funded through Kick­starter, it proves that in­die comics don’t nec­es­sar­ily have to use tra­di­tional dis­tri­bu­tion net­works to suc­ceed. With its com­pelling sto­ry­line, im­pres­sive art and high pro­duc­tion val­ues, Beast Wagon is as good as any­thing you find at Image or Dark Horse.

Set in the fic­tional Whip­snarl Zoo dur­ing a heat­wave, each of the four is­sues to date has taken place over the course of an hour. As tem­per­a­tures and tem­pers both rise, a loom­ing eco­log­i­cal apoca­lypse be­gins to man­i­fest, as we move to­wards the hottest time of the day.

Owen Michael John­son deftly draws par­al­lels be­tween an­i­mals and hu­mans as he puts words into the var­i­ous crea­tures’ mouths, hi­lar­i­ously show­ing the con­tempt that the zoo’s res­i­dents have for vis­i­tors. It’s like An­i­mal Farm crossed with The Lion King.

Mean­while, artist John Pear­son chan­nels Dave McKean and Kent Wil­liams, com­bin­ing sharp linework with some evoca­tive colour work that takes you into the hal­lu­ci­na­tory mind­set of the an­i­mal king­dom. With two is­sues to go, this is one band­wagon you’ll want to jump on. Stephen Jewell

One key in­flu­ence was ’80s comic The Puma Blues, where an­i­mals have been mu­tated by a nu­clear ex­plo­sion.

Even Terry Nutkins would leg it.

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