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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Graphic Novel Review: The Bunker by Joshua Hale Fialkov & Joe Infurnari

 


Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFO: Joshua Hale Fialkov is the creator of graphic novels, including the Harvey Nominated Elk’s Run, the Harvey and Eisner nominated Tumor, Punks the Comic, and the Harvey Nominated Echoes. He lives with his wife, Christina, daughter, Gable, and their cats, Smokey and the Bandit. TwitterFacebook

Publisher: ONI Press Number of Issues: 19 collected in four volumes



The Bunker revolves around five friends who uncover a metal bunker buried deep in the woods. Inside, they find letters addressed to each of them from their future selves. A joke? Maybe, but who would know such personal details about each of them?



The letters say they will destroy the world soon. Uplifting, right? Over the next few days, they realize their lives as they saw them are over. If they don't change, everyone else on the planet will pay. The friends find themselves growing further apart, unable to make the right decisions.


In Bunker, Joshua Hale Fialkov and Joe Infurnari created something spectacular. They play with the structure and show readers the future, the extinction event itself, and the past. As a huge time-travel nerd, I loved their take on it. They do get into the science and the idea of paradox and contradiction, but the book is first and foremost about characters. And that's enough to immerse readers.

The story plays with the idea of destiny vs free will, friendship, manipulation, and coming-of-age. And it wraps them in a gripping time-travel thriller narrative. The drama unfolds at a steady pace and offers plenty of exciting twists. I loved watching pieces fall into place.


Each of the characters feels distinct and has a purpose in the story. And in the story within a story. Some characters start as pawns in a guest from the future game, but it soon changes, and new variables change the equation. Fialkov develops his characters organically, through the careful layering of the mystery and the role each of them plays in it.

Billy, Daniel, Grady, Heidi, and Natasha feel like real people you might know from school or work. They speak differently and have small mannerisms. None of them has a perfect physique, and it's refreshing. Take Grady - he's slightly overweight and has a big nose.  


I love Infurnari's stylish, moody art. I know some readers dislike it but for me, his deliberately rough, sketchy, style, is the perfect match for this story. He uses light and shadow to create a grim atmosphere, and the muted colors add to the feeling of hopelessness. Interestingly, The Bunker was originally black-and-white, color was added when ONI Press published it. I haven't read the original version but I love the "remastered" one so much I have no need to do so.


The Bunker is fast-paced, exciting, and unpredictable. The unique cast of characters and the dystopian vision of the future hooked me instantly. It has it all, really: action, drama, suspense, and a nice touch of science fiction. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

1 comments:

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