What would you do if you found out that you and your friends would be responsible for the end of the world? That’s the very question five friends – Grady, Heidi, Natasha, Daniel, and Billy – had to face in the opening pages of The Bunker. As they were about to bury a time capsule, they uncovered a bunker that contained letters written by their future selves warning them about the impending apocalypse – that they caused. Knowing that they cause a near extinction of the human race, the friends are each faced with their own demons and internal struggles. Can they change the future, or is their destiny written in stone? Are the letters even real?
The Bunker, written by Joshua Fialkov, is a twisted and dark coming of age story. With their fates seemingly written for them, five friends have to become real-world adults with the knowledge that they will play a role in the mass extinction of the human race. With the main plot made clear, Fialkov shifts the focus towards the characters over the actual storyline itself – which is a good thing. What makes The Bunker so good is its willingness to explore the depths of each character’s unique personality so that readers really get a sense of what makes them tick. Fialkov does a great job of making each character unique and flawed, and they each react to the events of their lives differently. Some feel a need to prevent the future from happening, some feel obligated to make sure it happens as planned, and others choose to ignore it completely. None of them are boring and all of them are deeply flawed, which makes for a very fascinating character study.
The time travel aspect doesn’t get into much of the “how,” but it also doesn’t require the reader to make sense of it. It doesn’t take away from the story, but instead allows you to focus on the characters and how they deal with the world in front of them. The plot itself continues at a steady pace, hopping back and forth between the future and present day. It’s full of twists and unanswered questions that you continue to think about long after you put down the book.
If you’re looking for fast paced action and superhero-style storytelling, you won’t get that with The Bunker, which has a fairly serious tone to it, and is what you would expect from a story about wiping out humanity. The story is full of drama and mystery, which is what makes it such a captivating read – you’re always wondering what will happen next. We can only hope that Fialkov starts tying the loose ends together and that the story eventually has a satisfying ending. Until then, I’m thoroughly enjoying the journey.
Artist Joe Infurnari brings a very dark and grim feel to the book with rough lines and a color palette primarily featuring blacks, grays, and pale shades of blue, purple and pink. It’s an abstract style that many readers may not be used to, and will have to go through an adjustment period before it fully sets in and you become immersed in the world. While reading the book, the art really makes you feel gloomy and almost depressed – and it works beautifully. The future Earth is in shambles, humanity is on the brink of extinction, and there is little hope, and the artwork reflects that – not in just the way it looks, but in the way it makes you feel while flipping through its pages. It’s not for everyone, but once you allow it to do it’s job, then it adds to the overall experience of reading The Bunker.
Does this get Shortboxed?
If you like realistic science fiction with a high dose of drama, wrapped in dark tones (both in plot and artwork), then it doesn’t get much better than this. The Bunker is currently an ongoing series, so there’s still plenty more story to be told. If it continues to be as good as it currently is, then this will go down as a must-read series, but only time will tell.
Where to get it
The Bunker is currently seven issues in, but there is also the trade paperback volume 1 that collects issues 1-4, which you can find at your local comic shop or on Amazon for just $15.
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