It takes a special kind of post-apocalyptic pandemic story to reach audiences given the state of the world, and Scout Comics‘ latest series Locust does that and more. Written by Massimo Rosi with art by Alex Nieto, this new series features a solitary and quieter future world where a pandemic turns people into monsters locusts. If you’re looking for a story to put you in that solitary headspace, and the possibilities that come with going it alone in a harsh world, Locust may be your cup of tea.
There are tropes we’ve come to expect from stories like this — Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is one that comes to mind, but it’s in the quieter moments where Locust finds its groove. Nieto draws and colors this book to perfection. There’s a simplicity to the art that brings your focus and lets you take in each panel as a single panel amongst a sea of sorrow and story. Perspective on each scene helps draw you in, with well-paced moments that close in on the muzzle of a gun or a radio buzzing away. These scenes bring you into the scene and hear those sounds in a way to remind you it’s in these small moments that lives are lived and lost.
This book knows when to fill the reader in before your patience grows tired. It takes a few pages of seeing how absent New York City is with just snow and the protagonist filling the panels before we get flashbacks to flesh things out. Rosi does well to give readers enough to go on with the protagonist before the world fell to the pandemic. There are still mysteries to unravel, especially the main villain, but you’re so completely put into the location and setting you’ll be entertained by the story.
The book does reuse tropes we’ve seen plenty of times in similar stories. A virus that turns people into monsters, a terrible world where murder is necessary, and even a world where people are clinging to religious zealots to keep their heads above water. It’s not yet clear where the virus came from, or even if that’ll be explored, but the art and plotting of the story draw you in enough to not worry too much about those details.
Lettering by Mattia Gentili is strong too. Sound effects are particularly strong, as they break gutters and bring focus to those closer beats mentioned above. Captions are prominent early on and they have a certain sorrow aided by the letters.
Locust is a new series that brings closer focus to the headspace one would be in after the world stopped working. A pandemic is at the center of it all, but really, this is a story about the little moments between the bigger ones that keep us alive. Locust is thoughtful, absorbing storytelling in a genre that’s familiar, but you can’t ignore the effectiveness in its solemn nature.
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