The Fall Volume 1, published by Image Comics collects the first six issues of this hauntingly real story written and drawn entirely by Jared Muralt. This post-apocalyptic tale offers a glimpse into a world not so different from our own.
The Fall begins in a fictional town that feels the effects of a ‘summer flu’ that has gravely threatened modern life. Our main protagonist is a gentleman named Liam. A husband and father of two who has just been fired from his job amidst the Flu spreading. Civil unrest grows more violent in the streets as hospitals become overrun with sick and dying flu patients and armored soldiers patrol the streets after enacting martial law. Without so much as a warning, the situation grows from worse to miserable as mandatory quarantines, zoning, and forced evacuation. Liam, having a family to care for, decides they need to evacuate and seek shelter elsewhere.
What the family finds beyond the city limits turns grave as they are faced with what seems like nuclear winter considering their circumstance, dwindling rations, and unfriendly travelers. They fight to live day by day in a foreign situation to them and the reader.
If this story sounds a little on-the-nose, it is because it is. This story reads like a frightening nightmare considering the climate of the world around us. Granted, this situation seems like an exaggerated, alternate universe compared to the climate of the world today, but it is the ‘what if?’ factor of this story that makes it all too surreal. Remember last year when food, water, and toilet paper were so scarce, and everyone you know was freaking out? This story takes that, pumps it full of steroids, and then pours that nightmare fuel directly into your eyes.
I’d also like to point out how Muralt depicts society during the events of this story. We are all familiar, to some extent, with post-apocalyptic tropes and archetypes—the heroes, villains, societies, survival, etc. There are instances where I was entirely surprised at the way Muralt wrote the interaction or depicted the way humanity crumbles during a largescale pandemic and martial law. Rather than generic undertones, he paved his own path with the ways people interacted.
Jared Muralt has crafted a rich and incredibly detailed story to match. It is undeniable that this story was a passion project for him because the pencils, colors, and letters are all masterfully executed. It is impressive how well the story weaves from city to forest in art, allowing Jared to express his artistry with each environment you travel to fully. Using copper-like tones gives this story a unique color palette that seems to pop on the page although very dull in color.
The pacing of the story is where I believe Jared Muralt solidified that this story was a 5/5. Muralt’s pacing feels like a rollercoaster ride, but the entire experience, not just the loops and turns. We experience the initial stages of this pandemic and buckle up as society begins to crumble. He allows us to slowly climb and look out over the world as it all begins to crash but does not give us too much at once. It is a slow burn that I believe will plummet into a screaming thrill ride once the ride picks up enough momentum.
I will note that while the pacing works famously the way Muralt intended. There are certain moments where transitions seem not to make sense, but they indicate the passing of time upon further reading. This is absolutely a story intended for trade, I believe that waiting for single issues may have been suspenseful, but it is hugely appreciated in one fell swoop.
Overall, this story was a complete curveball and not at all what I was expecting. I am thrilled to have been given this story and experience. In less than 200 pages, I feel as though I, too, survived The Fall. This deserves no less than a perfect rating for its ability to captivate and instill an unshakeable feeling of dread. Bravo.
The Fall is now available wherever comics are sold.