Monday, April 30, 2012

The Zombie Simon Garth Trade Paperback Review

The Zombie: Simon Garth
Marvel Comics
Softcover Trade Paperback
96 pages
$13.99 (2008)
ISBN 9780785127512

Contributors: Kyle Hotz, Eric Powell, Dan Brown, and Joe Caramagna

Reprints: The Zombie: Simon Garth #1-4 (of 4)

Synopsis: A disoriented woman awakens after a terrible car accident on a deserted country road.  Her daughter is missing and she desperately enters the woods to search.  She is set upon by a pair of disgusting in-bred hillbillies, but miraculously rescued by a shambling horror wearing a name tag reading 'Simon'.

When we last saw Simon Garth, the former bank teller experienced the worst day of his life.  His bank was robbed and he was taken hostage by a pair of bloodthirsty thieves.  Things got worse as the unlucky group stumbled upon an army experiment gone awry.  A highly contagious virus transformed a group of soldiers and any unwitting bystanders into mindless killing machines in pursuit of flesh.  Simon managed to stop the bank robbers, but was infected by the virus and evacuated by an army scientist.

Their helicopter crashes and the virus spreads again in an isolated small town.  Investigating the strange occurrence is the town's sheriff.  He finds a man who survived the car crash and also looking for a girl.  Hell descends upon the town and all of the players converge in an effort to survive.

The army scientist barely escapes the crash and manages to make contact with his superiors - will help arrive in time?  The man from the car crash knows the woman and missing little girl - what is his dark secret which endangers the entire group?  Simon Garth ambles through the forest - does he remember his former self or is he consumed by the insatiable violence of the virus?
Just another town hall meeting...of zombies

Pros: Art by Hotz is perfectly fit for this tale of zombie horror, story is logical progression from previous mini-series, ending was decent and left room for another sequel, retains the MAX rating with cursing and bloody gore, entertaining with a few plot twists

Cons: Characters are mostly one-dimensional, Simon Garth doesn't talk and his character really doesn't do much except react (must have been a helluva challenge to write), cannibal hillbillies, not as good as the first story (most sequels aren't), short - disposable entertainment

Mike Tells It Straight: Following up on the hidden gem Zombie, Kyle Hotz takes over the writing reigns (with an assist from Eric Powell - known for writing horror-comic The Goon) from Mike Raicht as well as his usual horror-tinged artwork.  You can really tell Hotz went all out for this story - he does a great job.

It's a logical continuation of the first mini-series where Simon Garth is reintroduced with a modern spin.  His original stories had him suffer a voodoo curse and be susceptible to control through a mystical amulet worn around his neck (yeah, it was the '70s).  The old modus operandi is cast aside for the currently popular zombie plague apocalypse.

If you liked the first mini-series then this is a decent continuation which brings Simon Garth back to his status quo as a shambling, mute-yet-benevolent zombie.  Hotz does a great job and shows some potential with his writing.  Overall the story is not as good as the first one, but is still a passable zombie offering.  I'm a sucker for an offbeat horror story and give this a fair recommendation.

TO BUY and Recommendations: