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Even outside of The Walking Dead, the notion of a comic book chronicling life in an apocalypse is far from new. The trope has been used time and time again to tell stories about uncertainty and survival, either for a certain marginalized group or a larger collective. Eve of Extinction, a six-issue series published by TKO Comics, builds a fascinating premise within the ubiquity of that trope and, ultimately, crafts a story that ranges between exhilaration and predictability. Still, the impactful family dynamic at the core of Eve of Extinction, as well as its clever approach to surviving in the midst of an unthinkable scenario, make the series something worth checking out.
Eve of Extinction opens with the complicated family dynamic between married couple Elizabeth and Eddie, their adopted daughter Antonia, and Antonia's birth mother, Christine. A massive hurricane terrorizes their Houston, TX community, as it transforms every man into a mutated, grotesque monster with just a few drops of rain. Elizabeth and Christine are forced to put their differences aside and work together to save Antonia, who is stuck across town at a school lock-in.
What unfolds from there is often compelling and occasionally befuddling, and really only scratches the surface of what Eve of Extinction could cover. The issue-to-issue structure is efficient and entertaining, and helps the series work as either a binge-read or something to be consumed across multiple sittings (a perfect use of TKO's release strategy). The highlight of these six issues is the wildly different set of dynamics between Elizabeth, Christine, and Antonia, which grow and evolve in some heartfelt ways as the story continues. Christine, in particular, is an awesome and unconventional protagonist, with one of the series' best-executed pages chronicling her origin story.
The supporting cast outside of that is a little underdeveloped, with Antonia's gaggle of friends essentially being interchangeable. The coloring in some sequences could be to blame as there are moments where some of the girls only possess minute differences in hair color and outfits. And Jane and Abby, a pair of sisters that Elizabeth and Christine run into, are often bogged down with wooden dialogue, making their sporadic appearances in the series a little frustrating.
There's also the nature of Eve of Extinction's overall concept, which could have easily taken its gendered horror story—as the virus only infects men—in a much stronger direction. For many women, toxic masculinity and sexism are already a horror of everyday life, something that is only exacerbated by Eve of Extinction's grotesque monsters. A handful of sequences lean into the feminist angle, but there's still a lot of meat left on the bone. While the two men who penned the story, Sal and Steve Simeone, deliver admirable and entertaining work, you can't help but wonder what the concept would've been like with a more distinctly female point of view.
Reflecting on the artwork, Eve of Extinction is largely effective, with both Nik Virella and Isaac Goodhart generally creating a harmonious aesthetic. The book never feels entirely grounded in either realism or cartoonish qualities, which helps as the monsters in the comic grow larger and stranger. Even with the aforementioned issues, the color work from Ruth Redmond does carry through the style of the book, particularly once the storm intensifies.
Eve of Extinction isn't a perfect comic, but it has nuggets of something legitimately compelling and entertaining. The six-issue saga manages to be both an urban tale of apocalypse and an intimate family story, which is kept alive by its roster of female characters. If you want an apocalyptic horror book that will largely play into your expectations, for better or for worse, Eve of Extinction may be right up your alley.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Published by TKO Studios
Written by Sal Simeone and Steve Simeone
Art by Nik Virella and Isaac Goodhart
Colors by Ruth Redmond
Letters by Ariana Maher
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