Told by an oracle to seek a dying mutant tree aboveground, Gustine and her loyal lover head up to a decaying city where they’re confronted by the maddened scientist responsible for the disaster and swarms of mimicky pixel creatures called Dittos. The latter recreate a flashback to the Apocalypse, resulting in a memorably grim sequence: Neathery’s ability to switch from whimsical Carroll-ian satire to more disturbing fare is reminiscent of Walt Kelly’s “Pogo” during that strip’s memorable Simple J. Malarkey/Joe McCarthy takedown.
Since the story arc in these two volumes, “Endtown” has switched its focus to other animalized denizens of the underground outpost, providing some clues into the origins of this mysterious hideaway along the way. As a fan of the Albert/Gustine partnership, I have to admit initially being a bit hesitant in embracing the newer cast, though the big-hearted mouse Holly has since won my heart. Recently, the online strip concluded an engaging second arc featuring our girl and Wally, a feline newcomer to Endtown. Here’s hoping the first two books do well enough to encourage print editions of the second story line. And now that we’re in a new ‘un, maybe we could get a glimpse of how Albert and Gustine are doing these days?