Sally of the Wasteland: Eighty-Two Years After the Fall
If you’re looking for a fun, silly romp through the swamps, your search ends here. If nothing else, Sally of the Wasteland can promise entertainment. The series, which ended after 5 issues, was written by Victor Gischler, who has written characters as snarky and beloved as Deadpool, the Punisher, Wolverine, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and many more. The comics were illustrated by Tazio Bettin, who is known for his muscled comic book goddesses. This was a perfect pairing for Sally of the Wasteland, as every woman in the comic looked like a beefy Amazonian warrior. Or rather, a ‘Bamazon, a portmanteau of Alabama and Amazon, referencing the comics setting in the southern swamps, mainly Louisiana. “Louisianazon” just doesn’t have the same ring, ya know?
What’s the plot of Sally of the Wasteland?
The series follows Sally and her band of miscreants struggling to survive and have a few kicks doing it in the wake of the apocalypse that left most of the world a mutant infested wasteland. The crew usually holes up in the Bottom Feeders pub, where we are initially introduced to the majority of the characters wrasslin’ a giant mutant catfish before Sally hops up on the bar and blasts it away with Bertha, her shotgun. If that doesn’t sound funny to you, turn back now! The opening scene definitely set the theme for the rest of the series, which is the theme of hilarious absurdity in the face of death. I personally had a blast reading it, and the amazing illustrations and plethora of bad jokes were able to draw my attention away from the lack of character depth, and so I enjoyed the series quite a lot.
That being said, I found that Sally of the Wasteland is an awesome comic as long as you go into it understanding that it’s a fun read, not one that will make you cry or think too hard. Sometimes, reading a comic like Sally is exactly what you need after getting your spirits and faith in humanity crushed by more serious comics, like Monstress, Persepolis, or most Alan Moore comics (kidding! Sort of…)
The plot is introduced alongside the serious blonde babe, Kat, a scavenger who looks for still-functioning Old World technology. She stumbles into Bottom Feeders sporting a couple bullet wounds, and manages to rope the pubs regulars into a life or death adventure with the promise of untold riches and possibly safety from the mutant cannibals, bloodthirsty river pirates, and crawgators (crawfish-alligator mutant hybrids. This series LOVES portmanteaus), if Captain Sam can navigate them all safely through the treacherous swamps to New Orleans. One of the crew that signs on to accompany Kat and Captain Sam is a helpless blonde man named Tommy, who Sally refers to as her “property.”
The underlying plot of the series is Sally’s unrequited love/lust? for Tommy, and his obliviousness towards her. Sally, a fit and voluptuous troublemaker with raven-haired pigtails, a crop top, a tramp-stamp and a shotgun has been throwing herself quite blatantly at Tommy for long before the series begins, but hasn’t been able to coerce him to bed, and so she decides to accompany Tommy to ensure he returns safely for her use. It’s never really determined if Sally is insane or not, but she definitely has the sexy/crazy Harley Quinn dynamic going on.
In one of my favorite scenes, Sally decapitates a river pirate captain with a fireman axe and holds his head high, covered in blood, as the remaining surviving pirates jump into the water. “Holy shit, the freaky chick is insane!” cries the heavily tattooed river pirate with filed teeth. “I’ll take my chances with the crawgators!” cries another, who probably peed himself. With a slightly more than demented grin, Sally replies, “Yes, our ship and I’m the captain. And Mr. Axe is the first mate. Ready to keelhaul some scurvy bastards, Mr. Axe?”
Final Thoughts: 3 out of 5 Crawgators
The crazy doesn’t stop there; truly it only stops on the last page of the five issues. They run into indescribable villainous characters and stumble upon a secret organization where the ends will always justify the means. The plot is simple and there’s no real character development, and if there ever is, the character is sentenced to death immediately.
Gischler holds no qualms about killing off characters, and so one by one, nearly every character the reader gets introduced to dies in a fairly brutal and bloody fashion. We know hardly anything about any of the lead characters, and most issues introduce a fascinating problem or subplot that never gets explored in-depth, which can be very disappointing but fits in well with Sally’s unfocused chaotic way of thinking.
Overall, I enjoyed the series as a fun, quick read that you can blast through in a lunch break, but the illustrations are gorgeous and gory and the jokes are crude and silly, so I would recommend it to select comic book readers. The invasive nudity, cursing, and gore may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy characters like Deadpool or Gin Genie, I recommend picking up a copy of Sally in the Wasteland soon! I personally loved the glossy, full-color illustrations in my hardcover compilation that I may or may not rip out of the book and hang on my wall.
If you’re looking for a more serious, but still ass-kicking female-led comic books, check out Painkiller Jane before the movie comes out soon!
Featured Image: Titan Comics / Tazio Bettin