By Dustin Cabeal
It’s a bit of an understatement to say that Buried is influenced by Mad Max and X-Men. The issue opens with a quote from Mad Max: Fury Road, but I’m not knocking it for wearing its influences on its sleeve. Hell, at least the creator is open about it to save the constant comparison while reading the issue.
What I do have to knock it on is the storytelling, which is kind of a mess. There are four chapters to the story, each receiving a full-page break. While each chapter connects to the previous, this break is essentially used to jump ahead in the story. I hate to put it this way, but it’s a cheat, and one that I’m not sure is needed. The creators probably could have removed these needlessly blank pages and just had the story keep going. Instead, they act as huge roadblocks that break up the pacing.
Then there’s the narration. Buried, is the main character by the way and he over narrates everything except the ending. There are so many details in his narration that it goes beyond assuming he’s telling someone this story. It’s exposition pure and simple and its overkill. The art does a decent job of showing what’s happening making most of the narration useless.
As for the story, it has a nice twist on the apocalypse. It’s like Mad Max, X-Men, but also Rising Stars. Humanity has been hit by some radiation shit, and now the population is sterile, but the last generation of people were all given super powers. Buried sucks up radiation. For some reason, he has to be killed at one point though the narration tells the reader that he can be brought back from the dead because of his powers. Doesn’t say that he needs to be killed to use them and this is never visited again. There may have been a change in direction for the story after the first chapter… I don’t know, but it left me confused as to why he had to be shot in the gut with a shotgun in order for his people to get away… by the way, they get captured anyway, so it seems pointless when you learn that.
He meets a woman with superpowers, they break out of a camp together and make love… cuz, comics I guess. They cross paths again when the story starts to make even less sense and then the last page is an utter mess in that the woman’s dialogue is broken and kind of dumb. Who have you ever meet that’s said: “Now we are talking?” This is just one example of the un-natural dialogue that runs throughout the story.
The art is very reminiscent of the 90s, but not the good spectrum. It’s honestly not that bad, but it is very inconsistent with the linework. Some panels have a decent array of details, while others can have two characters standing next to each other with a completely different level of detail to them. Buried always has too many lines scratches on him, while everyone else is cleanly outlined and colored. I don’t mean to sound so mean, but it was like Buried was in a different comic half the time.
The sad part is, the premise isn’t bad. It’s not original, but it has some clever elements and a sandbox that would be interesting to develop. The storytelling is choppy, to say the least, but it’s also clearly a first-time creator, so they have room to grow. The art could be the tentpole of the issue, but it needs to be consistent and focused… also, fewer boob windows. If the apocalypse comes no one is wearing a boob window, I promise you that. The best thing I can say about it is that it wasn’t a chore to read it. I know that too sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it’s not. If this were a chore, I wouldn’t have reviewed which has happened to dozens of other indie comics.
Buried: The Last Days of Mankind #1
Story/Colors: Raphael Duarte
Artist: Ron C. Willians