‘Packs of the Low Country’ is a new independent comic book from writer John Dudley, and details the post-apocalyptic world of earth, after a mysterious invasion has given way to all sorts of mysterious monsters and mutations, with very few of earth’s population surviving. The story takes place years after the invasion, with an eager and still green soldier Bastion sent on a mission that isn’t what he had expected at all. What follows is a grisly, intense, horror adventure comic that displays some serious world building, interesting characters, and an overall compelling plot.

Dudley manages to really flesh out the main character of Bastion, who’s inner monologues and deep thoughts about the status of his situation sounding like something off of a neo noir, akin to something you’d hear from a narrator in a crime film. The character’s inner thinking throughout the comic is such a fun read and provides some more traits to his character, saving Bastion from being a one-dimensional protagonist with no real depth to him. The other supporting characters, such as characters like Dr. Beach, Gills, Mark, and Hel, have some development to them as well, but certain characters such as mark are mostly there to be put in the background, or for exposition, like Dr. Beach. This doesn’t take away from their likeability or their interactions with Bastion.

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Baker, the main antagonist alongside the mysterious ‘The Connect’ is extremely well written and provides some great dialogue whenever he shows up in the story. The art and faces drawn by Don Cardenas add more detail and emotion to the comic as a whole, and is really well done. Color artist Mark Dale excels in providing vibrant pages that are a joy to read, with All of these elements contributing to the overall story, as the world building and mythology that fills ‘Packs of the Low Country’ adds a new and interesting layer of storytelling that makes this comic stand out from the rest. With the different types of creatures that inhabit the world, to the different abilities that people develop, and the different documented letters that are put in-between chapters, the whole book is extremely detailed and intricate with the sets of rules and layering that the story has. ‘Packs of the Low Country’ is very well thought out and developed, with an amazing twist in the end that I didn’t see coming, a rarity for an avid comic reader.

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The minimalist covers for each individual issue are creative and fun to look at as well, with each one providing an exciting preview of what is to come. This brings to mind the action the comic showcases, ad there is never a dull moment in ‘Packs of the Low Country’. The fights and large scale battles that take place in the comic are well drawn and executed in their storytelling, and are exciting reads as well. While there is one or two unimaginative fight scenes, the rest stand out, looking like something out of a big Marvel or DC comic event, or better.

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Overall, the only complaint one would have with ‘Packs of the Low Country’ is the cheesy dialogue the characters have with one another at certain times, although it does fit with the overall aesthetic of the comic. This independent comic shows a rare example of original and creative storytelling that manages to keep you at the edge of your seat throughout, keeping the reader guessing until the very last page. I myself want to see more of Bastion’s story, and what’s next in this new and interesting world that Johnathan Dudley and Crew have created.

GRADE – 8.6/10

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