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Sekhmet Reviews – Buried: The Last Days of Mankind by Raphael Duarte and Ron C. Williams

Hello humans, it’s been a rather rainy summer, so I’m even grumpier than usual! I hate rain with a passion, in case that wasn’t clear. In this happy and positive mood, I am going to review my first comic book. Yes, you got it right, this time I am not destroying reading a webcomic, but Issue #1 (of 4) of a graphic novel called Buried:  The Last Days of Mankind by Raphael Duarte (story and colors) and Ron C. Williams (art).

Sober review

sekhmet-reviews_water_resThere there has been so much water in my life, lately, that I’d love to drown in Gold Star Labris, but then I’d get even snarkier and I promised myself to be lenient to the first comic I’d review back from vacation. Ha! Did you fall for that? I just recovered from a hangover, can’t leave the base for hours and the commissary is out of my precious bottles. So, obviously I can’t drink, and angry sober review it is!

General impression

Graced with professional art and coloring, the story packages a radioactive punch with much action and lots of info in the background, but fizzles quite a bit here and there due to tired and unrealistic cliches.

Author’s description of the comic

Post-Earth
There’s no turning back. We screwed up our planet. The air is poisoned and food is scarce. Even we are infertile.
The last ones
Humanity no longer breed. After the big war our people became infertile. No one borns anymore, but “the last ones” who did are still alive…
Follow the road
Join us on the final steps of Buried and “the last ones”. Fight for our kind’s very survival or live your last days as a oppressor. Choose or die. There is no other option.

If you overlook the typos, this is a rather powerful and dire intro. It conveys a sense of urgency and doom that sets the correct tone for the story. Great job!

Story

In a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has become infertile, Buried fights for the survival of dying humankind against the Raiders, a mutated army of clones. Buried belongs to “the last ones”, a group of people who were still in their mothers’ wombs when war hit and radiation killed most, yet gave those fetuses uncanny superpowers. His struggle becomes more poignant to him when he meets Eve, a young woman on a quest to save her father from danger.

Characters

Having read only the first issue, I can’t say much about character development. Yet, the most important figures are clearly introduced and we learn a lot about their background story. Maybe too much of that. I will focus on the main two characters.

Buried

Buried is badass but a bit on the trite side of comics

When it comes to radiation-induced superpowers and post-apocalyptic worlds, I thought we’d seen it all, but Buried offers something refreshing around both. First off, his powers need recharging like a battery. Second, that requires his death and burial (hence “Buried”). You read it well: once he gets killed and put in the vastly contaminated ground, he absorbs all possible radiation from there. That first regenerates him to the point of bringing him back to life and then accumulates in his body, allowing him to discharge it in powerful beams through his body. So, how do you kill Buried? His first main enemy has it all figured out: cremation. Even if t sounds a bit forced, it’s still pretty cool.

What else is special about this guy? From what we see in the first issue, alas, not much. He seems like your average reluctant superhero who invariably gets the hot girl after a quick fight (the way the sex scene happens is so unrealistic, it made me laugh out loud). We understand his motives are a bit generic, and he needs a woman’s touch to turn around and start caring. Where have I seen that before? Right, pretty much everywhere. But then again, this is issue 1, so there is hope that these clichés will be dismantled soon.

Eve

Eve, the last one among the hot women – I guess

Your average superhero meets your average superheroine! Eve is another last one endowed with uncanny strength and telepathy. She also saves Buried twice, so you must thinks she’s badass. Plus, she is supersexy and has sex with Buried in a heart bit. If you are a straight teenage boy (or an average straight man), that’s probably all that matters to you – congratulations, you just found one more comic that caters to your needs (not that it was very hard)! For the rest of us, it’s all pretty meh. I seriously tried hard to find anything special in this woman, and I thought it must be empowerment and independence. She does make Buried look like a douche a couple of times, but it’s not that being an underweight woman with big boobs and superpowers who puts the main male character to shame hasn’t been tried before. Just like for Buried, hopefully the rest of the comic will reveal more engaging sides to this character, too.

Plot, dialog and pacing

The plot is pretty linear and easy to follow, with a couple of twists at the end. There is a huge dump of background info about the world and the characters, but it’s rather easy to follow, as it spreads over the first half of the comic as immersive narration. This is all well done. My only qualm is that perhaps there is a little too much “tell” and not enough “show”. We get straight into action, which is awesome, but then the background information given is a little too on the heavy side, making it hard to become invested in the characters. It almost feels as if this issue was a summary of a previous, longer comic. If that is the case (I am unaware!), then it serves its purpose okay – we may wish to go back and read more about what happened before the events in Buried: The Last Days of Mankind. But if it is just info we are getting for the first time, that’s a bit too much. It could have been covered by an issue 0 or a prologue.

Pacing is very fast, but not so much to lose readers. And, of course, there is a lot of action, with adventure just setting in at the end of the issue. Dialog and balloons in general are on the very lean side, which is in line with this type of action-oriented comic.

Art

A real pro drew this, with great colors and special effects, so if you like Western-style, superhero comics, you are in for a treat. However, at times anatomy looks rather odd, not only because of the barbie-doll proportions of the female characters, but also due to a certain stiffness of the bodies in some fighting scenes. It is also worth mentioning that Buried’s tank top has a surprising ability to change the arrangement of holes in it, to the point that they move from left to right from one panel to the next and then magically vanish. Still, if you are not as fussy detail-oriented as me, you are certainly going to enjoy the art offered by this comic. Truth be told, in general, I enjoyed it, too.

Conclusions

Looking for an indie graphic novel with plenty of action, muscular dudes and hot ladies with superpowers? Buried: The Last Days of Mankind is for you! Sporting nice art and a plot that will certainly entertain the less picky of readers, it promises a thrilling ride!

Check out Buried:  The Last Days of Mankind , and buy it on  Amazon!

© 2017, Infected Blood Comics

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