Review: Civilization Has Been Wiped From The Map In ‘Nuclear Family’ #2

by Brendan M. Allen

‘When the Big One dropped on their house in 1957 the Cold War turned hot for the McClean family. Forced to contend with the literal fallout in a Wisconsin suffering from nuclear winter, where almost all civilization has been wiped from the map, the McCleans now have to wonder, is the year still 1957, or has something more shocking happened?’

I mentioned in my review of Nuclear Family #1 that the setup felt really familiar. Fifties-era Red Scare. Ham radio and emergency rations in the basement. Honest, hard working, Joe Lunchbox and his perfect little family. Wife, two kids (boy and a girl). When the bombs start dropping, everyone knows the drill. Down to the basement. Duck and cover. That’s about where the familiarity ends. 

Stephanie Phillips takes a hard left in the second chapter. Things get delightfully weird, as advertised. Milwaukee has apparently been wiped off the face of the Earth, and somehow, the McClean’s home is the only thing left standing. Soldiers kick down the door, and one of them looks just like Tim’s sleazy co-worker Dan, except ‘Dan’ acts like he doesn’t know Tim, calls him a Commie, steals his coffee, and puts the whole family under arrest. The hell is going on here?

Tony Shasteen and JD Mettler’s art also takes a turn in Nuclear Family #2. Where everything was all homey and wholesome last month, that all gives way to harsh, barren nuclear landscapes, and industrial underground city sized bunkers. Bright and shiny turned burnt and hazy real quick. 

So far, this thing has been paced out beautifully. Introductions were handled so effectively in the first chapter, it makes the mystery of this chapter feel really authentic. There are a hell of a lot of directions we can head from here, and every one of them has amazing potential.

Nuclear Family #2, AfterShock Comics, 31 March 2021. Written by Stephanie Phillips, art by Tony Shasteen, color by JD Mettler, letters by Troy Peteri.

Summary

Nuclear Family takes a hard left in chapter two. Things get delightfully weird, as advertised. Blast From The Past meets The Red Menace in this funky little Breakfast At Twilight adaptation.

Overall
9/10
9/10

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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