Gung Ho: Vol. 1

Ablaze. Nov. 2020. 182p. ISBN 9781950912179. $24.99. Rated: Teen+. dystopian fiction
After their antics find them exiled from the orphanage where they were raised, teenage brothers Archer and Zack Goodwoody are sent to Fort Apache, an outpost in the middle of a postapocalyptic Europe overrun with ferocious apelike creatures called Rippers. While Archer’s brash disdain for authority soon finds him at odds with the settlement’s leaders, more level-headed Zack quickly integrates and forms a tight circle of friends among the orphans with whom he spends his days training to battle the beasts that lurk the ruins beyond Fort Apache’s walls. French creators von Eckartsberg and von Kummant spend much of this volume exploring how the drama between hormonal teenagers is magnified and complicated by the threat of being eviscerated by monsters and maneuvering a meritocracy in which warriors are afforded special privileges, allowing conflicts within the fort and a growing threat from without to converge slowly for a devastating finale.
VERDICT Von Kummant’s illustration is stunning and matches the lively tone of von Eckartsberg’s script, which puts a new spin on dystopian survival tales in the Walking Dead vein by focusing the narrative around a teenage cast. A refreshingly original, promising start to the series.
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