The Bunker, written by Joshua Hale Fialkov (I, Vampire, Elk’s Run) and penciled by Joe Infurnari (Marathon) is a digital comic in the Panel Syndicate mold. Similar to Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s The Private Eye, The Bunker is sold direct to consumer on a dedicated website, and formatted landscape style with tablets in mind. On the other hand Fialkov and Infurnari have set the price for each installment ($1.99) and are also offering issues through Comixology. I purchased my copy direct from www.thebunkercomic.com, I chose the CBR file option (PDF is also available) and viewed the comic via Comic Zeal on my iPad 2.
Let me get a plot recap out of the way by saying there’s not much I can recap without spoiling stuff, so I’m gonna keep it pretty vague. Five college students (maybe? to me they’re drawn as 20-somethings but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were high school seniors either) are burying a time capsule in the woods when they discover a bunker with their names on it. They enter it and find letters written to them by…
That’s all I really want to tell you because you should read The Bunker yourself.
Fialkov does an excellent job setting up the series with this first installment. He’s a skilled writer who manages to set up his main characters, make them easily identifiable to the reader, and establish the main conflict in very readable way. There’s a lot of exposition here but it doesn’t bog the issue down. There are five main characters and between Fialkov unobtrusively repeating their names and Infurnari’s penciling you’re not stuck playing “who’s who” every other page.
I have no previous experience with Joe Infurnari, here his pencils remind me of Sean Murphy (The Wake, Joe the Barbarian) but his use of gray and black tones in this black and white book creates a very distinctive style. As I said before, Infurnari does an impressive job creating five distinct individuals in a B&W book. Between hair, body size and shape, and accessories I had no trouble telling who was speaking to who about who. The bunker itself looks like a creepy hoarder fantasy. I’d love to be able to talk about the bulk of what he’s drawn here but that would be telling. Suffice to say he’s a great penicller who’s dialed in to the tone of the book.
I can recommend The Bunker without hesitation, the first issue is mostly set-up but it reads great and at 35 pages (screens?) it’s well worth the $1.99. Really my only complaint is the font used for the text of the letters found in the bunker. It’s cursive writing, which I found a little difficult to read. Other than that The Bunker was a joy to review, and I’m off to download the second chapter.