The followup to last year’s inventive Wild’s End, Wild’s End: The Enemy Within chronicles the story of a group of anthropomorphic animals as they attempt to survive an alien invasion. A clear adaptation of War of the Worlds, Wild’s End distinguishes itself by its steampunk alien design and vivid, rich characterizations.
While the first entry chronicled the discovery of alien invasion, this one looks at the paranoia within as the characters from the first story are held prisoners by the military as they try to figure out the situation. It moves to a more modern fear of the spies within instead of the invasion from outside.
The character beats that make this comic. Clive’s no-nonsense military mind leads the group as Susan’s cold exterior calculates how best to capture in words what is going on. Fawkes continues to raise a ruckus and Peter remains his generally reserved self. And Alphie overcomes his timid nature in the face of horrors.
Dan Abnett’s writing drips with personality and quirk. Each of these characters are caringly written to be warm, flawed, sympathetic, and charming. While the story is good, these are the kinds of characters that could work in any tale. They’re damn endearing and by the end you’re ready for another adventure with these comrades.
I.N.J. Culbard’s art gives the book even more personality. The roundish faces, on realistically rendered bodies makes for this juxtaposition of realism and child storybook art (although, this probably isn’t a book for children). Add the lovely, muted color tones and the wonderful alien designs and the book is an absolute delight to view.
The Enemy Within is a fantastic journey with one of the most likable crew of characters in comics right now. The solid story and rich art give these characters context and depth, pushing them into a whole other dimension of the fight. It’s a story that leaves you starving for more as the time spent with these character is not nearly enough.
© 2016 James Blake Ewing