BlackAcre v1: An Errand into the Wilderness (Image)

BlackAcreMain

Rating:  3.5/5 – In a futuristic world of turmoil, BlackAcre stands as the last American city
Collecting BlackAcre #1-5

As a budget-conscious comic book reader, I appreciate when a publisher like Image Comics provides inexpensive access to their books.  Image typically releases their trade paperbacks, specifically the first volumes, in the $9.99 price range.  If you get your comics from an LCS or online store with a decent discount program, you can walk away with four to six issues of a new series for as low as $4.99.  That is a low risk – high reward gamble that I am willing to take and how I came across BlackAcre Volume 1:  An Errand into the Wilderness, written by Duffy Boudreau with pencils by Wendell Cavalcanti.

I missed the first issue of BlackAcre when it came out so I decided to check out the trade, knowing I could obtain it at a reasonable price.  Reviews of the early issues were positive but I didn’t know much about the story.  Once I read the solicitation for volume 1 I knew it would be up my alley,  I am a sucker for futuristic, dystopian stories.  Throw in a no-nonsense main character and you have my full attention.

BlackAcre, is the name of the last American city in a world that has fallen to pieces.  The city was established by a group of ultra-rich to safeguard themselves from what they saw happening around them.  BlackAcre is supposed to represent the last shred of stability in an unstable world.

Issue One introduces us to the main character, Hull, who is on his last day of duty as a soldier tasked with protecting BlackAcre.  Upon retirement Hull is sent on a mission to find a former comrade who has gone missing outside of the city.  The harsh and unforgiving world outside of BlackAcre’s protective walls is revealed immediately.   Wilderness families, bands of mercenaries, and religious cults are just some of the groups inhabiting the woods outside of BlackAcre and Hull must use all his military skill and training to adeptly navigate each and stay alive long enough to complete his mission.

The creative team has built a unique world, setting BlackAcre apart from the typical post-apocalyptic future genre books that are popular nowadays.  BlackAcre Volume 1 is as much West Wing as it is The Road and that is one of the things I liked about the book.  While Hull is on his mission outside of BlackAcre’s walls there is a parallel storyline full of political intrigue within. With each political player trying to outmaneuver the other, one has to wonder if the utopian society is not on the brink of the same collapse that consumed the rest of the United States years prior.  There are likable characters, nice plot twists and many open-ended storylines that have piqued my interest enough to come back for the second volume.   This was a solid trade and I am excited to see what the creative team has in store for us next.

Reviewed by: Jeff Bouchard – jeff@comicspectrum.com
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