Dark Frontier #1 Review: Brutal Mid-Apocalypse 'of Mice and Men'

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In a dystopian future in the United States, a man named Max is battling a group of bat-wielding marauders. He is beaten severely and left for dead. Max's friend, Luc, brings him back to a bunker near Portland, and his life is saved—barely. His mind is destroyed, and he is left with the mental capacities of a child.

We jump ahead in time to another city under the occupation of more marauders with a young girl hostage. Luc and Max arrive to solve this problem.

Dark Frontier #1 cover by Luca Panciroli
Dark Frontier #1 cover by Luca Panciroli

Dark Frontier is a pseudo-apocalypse story where the United States hasn't fallen apart completely, but it seems to be in the process of doing so. The main conceit is the partnership of Luc and Max. Luc is crafty and must take care of Max, and Max is a massive man with the mind of a child. Sort of think Of Mice and Men, but Lenny and George are bounty hunters in a wasteland.

There is some lip service paid to the current political situation in what's left of the American government, and it wouldn't surprise me if that becomes more of a focus in future issues. However, this issue is more concerned with presenting our characters, how they work together and get along, and presenting some brutal action scenes. All of it works pretty damn well too.

Dark Frontier #1 art by Luca Panciroli
Dark Frontier #1 art by Luca Panciroli

The comic is in black-and-white with Luca Panciroli as the artist. His style is fairly realistic, but characters are given exaggerated features to set them apart, whether it be Luc's hair, Max's size, or the shrunken stature of the doctor who took care of Max. This style, along with the monochrome color situation, lends itself to a high-action and gritty story like this. Plus, it just looks really good. The action beats are brutal, gory, and exciting. There is a bandit with a gas mask with a human face stretched over it; that's a grisly design that I will remember for a long time to come. I kind of dug it though.

Dark Frontier #1 is a brutal and gritty mid-apocalypse tale which blends many of the genre installments which came before it while bringing plenty of its own ideas to the table and mixing in aspects of the Western genre. The characters are interesting, the action is great, and the art is rock-solid. This one gets a recommendation. Check it out.

It's hard to find information about this book, so I'm entirely sure if it's available yet. If it is, I'm not sure where you can purchase it. I will update this article later with that information once I have it.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.