Advance Review: Love Rules In `Once Upon A Time At The End Of The World’ #1

by Tom Smithyman


While the apocalypse may not seem like an appropriate place for a love story, the first issue lays the groundwork for a romance for the ages. Some memorable artwork cements the beginning of what should be a strong tale of love and survival.


This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a love story.

In Once Upon a Time at the End of the World, we have no idea what brought an end to civilization or even what planet the few surviving characters inhabit. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. What is important is how protagonists Maceo and Mezzy meet in this post-apocalyptic mess.

At the start of the story, Mezzy is the street smart (well, she would be if streets still existed) girl looking to escape the infernos of devastation that ravaged her world. She meets reclusive Maceo, who is holed up in a protective tower that is stocked full of food and water. While they are reluctant companions at first – from Mezzy’s perspective anyway – it’s clear that the two will become much closer as time wears on. A time jump at the end of the first installment in this limited series indicates that the pair are together years later.

Writer Jason Aaron crafts this love story set at the world’s end. It’s an interesting tale, and Aaron spends considerable time on setting up the youngsters’ backgrounds. Maceo has deluded himself into believing his parents are still alive and want him to stay in the tower. Mezzy know her newfound friend will never survive on his own without considerable help.

Artist Alexandre Tefenkgi creates the nightmarish landscape where cities are partially submerged and tentacles from the water threaten the survivors’ existence. It’s a little cyberpunk, a little manga and all a delight to the eyes. Nick Dragotta provides a change up in the artwork for the brief flash forward at the end. It’s a welcome change that conveys the change in story without having to read the captions.

Aaron plans to use different artists illustrating each of the series’ three arcs, so readers will need to get used to changes in illustration styles. Still, if they are handled as well as they are in this premiere issue, the audience will likely embrace the change.

Once Upon a Time at the End of the World #1 will be available for purchase on November 23, 2022.


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