BlackAcre #2: Wilderness of the Poor

The post-apocalyptic society that never had an actual apocalypse examines the disparity between haves and have-nots.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

BlackAcre #2

The inaugural issue of Image Comics' BlackAcre established a world whose civilization had ended in the least climactic way possible – slow erosion and eventual surrender to the oligarchy. There are private-industry city-states and the rest of the country is a wasteland full of poverty and religious strife. We get a closer look at the latter in BlackAcre #2, where an undercover agent named Hull has been sent from the rich to the poorlands in search of a missing agent named Greene.

The non-residents of BlackAcre are subhuman to those privileged enough to be born there, and that's firmly established in a flashback, wherein Hull and Greene have a conversation about the latter's burgeoning philosophical questions about the meaning of it all while callously gunning down the enemy poor. In the present, Hull's search for Greene has him tracked by a pack of hunters, and the resulting struggle eventually detonates the bomb – the one Hull was told by his superior, Executor Sinclair, was a homing beacon. Meanwhile, we see a teenage girl being dragged into a religious cult's encampment and earning the wrath of the nefarious Aunt Levina. Hull survived the bomb, by the way, and a big guy named Bird finds him bleeding and hiding. This Bird guy looks like he runs some kinda posse.

With that development towards the end, Duffy Bordreau's BlackAcre is starting to take a shape that looks a lot like The Walking Dead sort of thing – wasteland wandering in brutal armed packs of slap-fighting factions and such. Hopefully, the presence of a rich asshole-utopia will give this a different vibe as the pre-eminent threat, as it's much more dynamic than shamblers. The artwork from Wendell Cavalcanti is solid for the most part, although the opening conversation between Greene and Hull is a bit frustrating, since there are no differences in the faces of either one of them, so you can only tell who they are by reading what they're saying.

BlackAcre has the potential to be a very interesting examination of the dichotomy between the haves and have-nots. Or it could just be the standard kind of post-civilization turf-war fare, but given the opening of the first issue in the re-civilized future, I'm guessing Bordreau is going somewhere specific with all of this, and I'm on board to find out just where that might be.