Review: Radio Apocalypse #1
Radio Apocalypse is definitely more of a vibe than a story, but that’s A-okay as Ram V, Anand RK, and Anisha immerse us in the post-apocalyptic world of Bakerstown where the DJ still plays Springsteen and Muse. However, they’re barely scraping by, and going out after dark attracts the xinos, kind of mutant wolf creatures that emerge from the desert when they find a scent. Radio Apocalypse literally shows a day in the life of the inhabitants of Bakerstown and sets up key characters like the orphan refugee boy Rion and the couple, Tan and Cali, who are just trying to find a warm fire and shelter. The entire narrative and world is connected by the DJ of the last radio station, who is a Greek chorus meets Senor Love Daddy in Do the Right Thing with a bit of a survivalist edge.
Radio Apocalypse #1 establishes Anand RK’s distinct, yet varied art style, and his idiosyncrasies make the story memorable. Something I noticed about his approach to storytelling is that he and Ram V like to insert a panel of a foot before a tense scene like a xino jumping up, or Rion getting caught by the DJ while looking for copper wire for something the scrap and sell and get some food. Usually framed at medium range with the lower leg bending, this repeated motif shows the knife edge that Bakerstown is on. The sunset isn’t something that’s nice to know for golden hour lighting, but life or death. Anisha’s palette gauges the feelings of the characters and also corresponds to the time of day from a nice montage of various citizens on the first few pages to a far off explosion and darkness in the final few that sets up the series’ real hook and conflict.
To draw you into the story, Ram V and Anand RK use archetypal relationships: two lovers and a father and son. However, the second dynamic is different because DJ basically has Rion in indentured servitude paying him in meals and shelter instead of turning him in for breaking and stealing stuff from the station. From the first page, this station connects the world of the town with the outside world as Tan desperately reaches out to Cali with tips for surviving the night and a song in case that doesn’t happen. There are many panels where the words drop out, and RK just indulges in the power of music and all things analog. Even if nothing really nice happens in Radio Apocalypse #1, it’s nice to know that there’s still good music at the end of the world.
Radio Apocalypse #1 is like the comic book equivalent of a five minute opening track on a concept album establishing the visual language and color palette as well as the setting and key players. Ram V, Anand RK, and Anisha walk a tight rope between hope and hopelessness throughout the story and use seemingly throwaway dialogue between characters to set up the main brunt of the plot. (For now.) Compared to the areas outside it that are seen through the blurry, pain-filled POV of Cali and Tan, Bakerstown is pretty damn idyllic, but the darkness is coming.
Story: Ram V Art: Anand RK
Colors: Anisha Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Vault provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review