REVIEW: ‘Once Upon A Time At The End Of The World,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Once upon a Time #1

Once Upon A Time At The End of the World #1 is written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Alexandre Tefenkgi (with Nick Dragotta demonstrating pages 29-30), colored by Lee Loughridge (with Rico Renzi coloring pages 29-30), and lettered by AndWorld Design. It’s published by BOOM! Studios. Years in the future, a mysterious event caused society to collapse. A girl named Ezmerelda —  or “Mezzy” as she prefers to be called — sails the ruined seas in search of something. When her boat springs a leak, she ends up in a mysterious tower and meets another survivor named Maceo. The two form a connection that won’t just upend their lives but the world’s fate.

Aaron’s made a name for himself with his Marvel work, tackling everyone from Wolverine to the Avengers. It’s even gotten to the point where there’s an actual Marvel movie based on his work! With Once Upon A Time, he proves to have just as prolific at crafting an original world as he is with playing in the House of Ideas’ backyard. The reasons behind the world’s destruction are left intentionally vague, which gives him room to focus on the budding relationship between Mezzy and Maceo. And the two couldn’t be more different: Mezzy became a hardened survivor, while Maceo is a sweet, goofy, and talkative boy clearly suffering from loneliness. Aaron has taken the philosophy that opposites attract and brought it to its ultimate extreme.

Once Upon A Time At The End of the World #1 is a hauntingly good-looking book, thanks to Tefenkgi & Loughridge’s work. Tefenkgi brings the madness spilling out of Aaron’s script to life: an entire ocean is filled with warped pieces of plastic and other trash, while animals such as scorpions & octopi have blood-red skin and a feral look in their eyes. In contrast, the tower where Maceo resides is full of the comforts of modern life, including a room full of vending machines and a literal sea of books. Loughridge adds to the divide between both protagonists’ environments with his color choices. The wreckage that Mezzy travels through is covered with a blood-red and hellish sky, while Maceo’s bunker is a cool, calming blue. Adding to the fairy tale elements, AndWorld Design peppers the pages with captions that feel like scraps of parchment. Simply put, the apocalypse never looked this great.

The last two pages by Dragotta and Renzi will have readers talking. Not only does it represent a shift in art, but in time which raises even more questions. Granted, said questions will probably be answered in future issues, but it’s been a while since I closed a comic thinking, “what happens next?!” That’s the power of a tremendous comic and a great story. It digs its hooks into you and doesn’t let go until the very end. And it’s safe to say; I’m hooked.

Once Upon A Time At The End of the World #1 provides an apocalyptic update to the fairy tale while also being chock-full of character development and dynamic visuals. It’s also proof that BOOM! excels when it comes to dark fantasy comics. This is a series that’s not to be missed.

Once Upon A Time At The End of the World #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Once Upon A Time At The End Of The World #1
4.5

TL;DR

Once Upon A Time At The End of the World #1 provides an apocalyptic update to the fairy tale while also being chock-full of character development and dynamic visuals. It’s also proof that BOOM! excels when it comes to dark fantasy comics. This is a series that’s not to be missed.

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