The Wicked Righteous Exodus Vol 2: #1 Review - Undiscovered Country Jr. Edition
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When I started reading Wicked Righteous Exodus I had no idea that this was the second volume in this series. I have the entire series via my AlternaAccess subscription but I hadn't dived into it due to time constraints and general lack of knowledge of what I was getting into.
The cliff notes version of the review is that the issue felt like a more accessible version of Scott Snyder and Charles Soule's Undiscovered currently running at Image Comics. I won't accuse Snyder and Co of lifting the story but there are some beats here that are uncomfortably similar and it's probably even more so for the creative team involved in this series.
The main difference between the two comics is that Undiscovered Country feel's bloated thematically and focuses on way too many characters. Exodus feels natural and focuses on a small cast of likable and relatable characters. It makes the book feel like a more intimate affair.
The cast also skews YA but Its a really dark and mature setting. It's not childish and the dialogue will not insult your intelligence. Some of the dialogue is a bit cringy but it's more of a consequence of dealing with younger characters than anything else.
The title actually opens with a father digging his own grave after it becomes clear that he's not gonna make it. The father shares a moment with his son and as the scene ends we see that his wife has passed already. It's a heavy moment and was extremely heartfelt as an opening to the series
There is a 2-year time jump and we are formally introduced to our cast and their situation. They have been at sea for an extended period of time and will sink if repairs are not completed. At some point, they receive a call from the mainline offering assistance and have no choice but to investigate.
Things aren't as they seem as the crew is attacked almost as soon as they touchdown. The offer to help was a trap.
The cover really doesn't convey how dark and mature the title is. A more action-driven, old school comic cover may have served the series better. I believe this is the main reason it took me so long to snag the book out of my backlog of titles.
The story also has a surprising amount of action, particularly in the back half of the issue. Lucas does a great job of conveying the enthusiasm of the younger characters. He also balances it with the shocking level of sudden violence and seriousness in the cast's situation. It's a nice balance and feels like a potential lord of the flies scenario. Another way to look at this plot is if The Walking Dead centered on Carl Grimes instead of Rick.
This is also another title comic covering the aftermath of a pandemic virus. Other titles released recently covering the topic include AWA's Resistance, Splatto Del Gatto's Pandemic, and the aforementioned Undiscovered Country. Post-COVID it's weird reading these stories in the new landscape but to Terry Mayo's credit Exodus was released prior to the COVID outbreak.
The premise is interesting and the characters to this point are all endearing. I liked the tone and even with the language and more mature content, I felt comfortable letting my 11-year-old read the book. The Wicked Righteous Exodus is now on my radar and I look forward to reviewing the rest of the series.