Review - Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam #1

"It's been said that everyone changed that fateful day..."

When the apocalypse consumes the world, we'll need people who can help the rest of us survive. Those people will be leaders and have what it takes to help us survive in the new world. Aspen Comics delves into such a scenario in Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam #1. The issue is written by Vince Hernandez, illustrated by Siya Oum and lettered by Josh Reed.

She was once a woman with a promising future and the love of her life by her side. But, following the nuclear holocaust that eviscerated the city of Chicago, the “Wasteland Madam” has evolved into a ruthless leader, responsible for protecting a band of survivors from the threat of annihilation. However, that’s easier said than done in the Wasteland—where the law of the land is enforced by blood.

There's an established universe in Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam #1, courtesy of the initial run and Hernandez taps into that for the new miniseries. As the Wasteland Madam, Hernandez gives Maddy plenty of confidence and ability to act as a leader for others under her care. What's pretty amazing is how much happens in the year between when everything was fine for Maddy and when things got excessively worse. Hernandez uses flashbacks to go back into that past to help explain her present and it's a duration of time littered with tragedy and loss. Aside from characters though, the plot in Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam #1 is a little vague, as Hernandez focuses more on establishing the characters as opposed to laying out a focused storyline. It's likely that Hernandez will delve more deeply into the story in future issues, even if the first one feels a little unfocused.

Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam #1 looks amazing, as Oum does a great job with the illustrations. There's a hand-painted quality to the work that really helps sell the concept of a post-nuclear apocalypse world. The Wasteland Madam especially is illustrated with strength and poise, sporting a look that's equal parts Mad Max and G.I. Joe. Her bold red hair stands starkly against blue sky backdrops and brown, decaying landscapes. Many of the characters have a grizzled look to them befitting of spending an amount of time in such a wasteland and they wear their difficulties with pride.

Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam #1 is a solid spin-off book from Lola XOXO that lives in the same world and tackles a different part of it. The Wasteland Madam is a character who shouldn't be trifled with, brandishing an innate ability to be a leader and command respect of those under her. The story by Hernandez sets up the characters well, but there does seem to be a need to read the main series first in order to get better context for the events. Oum's artwork is beautiful, accented by black gutters that makes all the characters stand out even more. Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam #1 is a good first issue with a character in Wasteland Madam who's more than capable of being a strong leading lady.

Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam #1 is in stores April 8 with interiors below.