Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Jonas Scharf
Release Date: 28th December,2016
We’re now three issues in, and Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Jonas Scharf’s Warlords of Appalachia is really starting to embrace the more science fiction aspects of its premise. Last issue saw the brutal introduction of the Augmented Cavalry (or “Augies”) as a drastic measure to help bring the uprising in Red Rock under control, and this issue sees them continuing to do their best to eliminate reluctant folk hero Kade Mercer – with somewhat predictable results.
Johnson’s world building in this series has been impressive in both its scope and execution, and the ‘alternate world history’ approach which sees Kentucky refusing to acknowledge U.S. sovereignty following the end of the second Civil War, essentially making it an occupied nation within U.S. borders, really opens this story up to all manner of possibilities. It’s almost a little disappointing that the series is only set to run for one more issue, as there’s near limitless potential for this concept to be expanded upon and explored in greater depth, particularly as Kade Mercer’s star continues to rise.
Kade himself is more of a peripheral figure here, with the story picking up on all the other threads spiraling out of the brutal massacre at Red Rock. There’s a measured approach to the pacing that’s working well to this point, but which may lead to an involuntary “sprint finish” in the fourth and final issue. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the series for me, however – and one which promises to play a significant role in the story’s conclusion – is the Sweetrock addicted “Blueboys”, whose chilling demeanour and pale blue skin make them a mixture of tragic and terrifying.
Visually, Jonas Scharf continues to lend an even hand to the proceedings, packing his characters with expression and keeping the story flowing smoothly throughout. His action sequences are packed with a frantic sense of dynamism, and the gradual build to the tense, unsettling conclusion of the issue is handled impressively.
While its reach does exceed its grasp a little at times, the sheer confidence of the world building on display makes Warlords of Appalachia a highly recommended purchase. And while I’m still a little anxious about just how well Johnson is going to pull everything together for a satisfactory conclusion in the next issue, I’ll definitely be picking this one up to find out, and I heartily recommend you do the same.
If you want to find out more about Warlords of Appalachia, make sure to check out our interview with series writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson by CLICKING HERE.
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