Vault Comics: Mall (Issue 1)

Review:

Ok, the comic book that we will be reviewing is a fun post apocalyptic satire by Michael Moreci and Zak Hartong entitled Mall which details the consequences of humanity’s consumerism. Mall is a nice blend of tongue in cheek humor and break neck speed. Greed has always been one of my favorite vices to explore and I’ve been eager to find a series discuss it in outlandishly gritty ways. Mall scratches that itch really well.

Coming out this Wednesday, Moreci uses the reader’s pop culture knowledge to build a society in a mall. Right off the bat, this comic shows how the horrors inside the shopping center is potentially worse than what is outside of it. The first five pages definitely leave a brutal impression. “Life that was,” is how the issue describes the world before the apocalypse (ie our world), demonstrating how disconnected things are. This issue’s first page shows the myriad of ways our world can end but denies the reader any clear answers. This first page is indicative of the issue’s mile a minute rate of exposition, which is a blessing and a curse. Mall definitely let’s you know what it’s interested in on the very first page.

The comic moves to a woman being chased through a basement frightfully clad men, which ends with the showing of what they’re after and time jump to our main story. That opener is quickly made important before the action begins. You could even say that the opening scene is what got main character Andre Reed into his predicament. This predicament, and Andre’s connection to the hierarchy, gives way to an issue long chase scene that acts as a guide of what happened to this mall after some apocalyptic event. The apocalypse this shopping center resides in remains as ambiguous as the stand-in stores for mall culture mainstays like Foot Locker and Spencer Gifts during Andre’s fleeing from the mall’s murderous leadership. All of this leads to the fun gang war between Spencer Gifts and Foot Locker!

The rest of the issue doesn’t really let up on the gas all that much. That speed could have been a detriment in lesser hands, but Hartong thankfully keeps the action smooth and easy to follow. This issue use cultural signifiers (ie the black and white employees wear at Foot Locker) to let readers in on the structure of this mall’s end of the world society, but that kept me from investing in some elements. The main character Andre and the action is exciting enough to keep your attention until the very last page, giving readers a thrilling ride throughout.

The issue was a fun promise of what’s to come in this series, especially if they can keep up the quick pace. The characters have enough wit that I’m curious to see how they develop as the series continues. The artwork balances the perfect tone that a post apocalyptic story needs: rugged but clear. It’s done in a way that lets you see all the details of the world but focuses in the action scenes. I fully recommend you go down to your local comic shop and pick up a physical copy this Wednesday, or get a copy through Comixology.

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