Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Zombie Trade Paperback Review

Marvel Comics
Softcover Trade Paperback
104 pages
$13.99 (2007)
ISBN 9780785119135

Contributors: Mike Raicht, Kyle Hotz, Dan Brown, Virtual Calligraphy, and Joe Caramagna

Reprints: Zombie #1-4 (of 4)

Synopsis: Simon Garth is having a bad day.  The bank where he toils away as a mid-level drone is being robbed by two bloodthirsty crooks.  They kill his boss and threaten his attractive co-worker (who he has a secret crush on).  To make things worse the police show up and the crooks snatch both bank workers as hostages.

The hapless crew of robbers and hostages run smack into a bizarre chemical disaster.  Soldiers and civilians have been transformed into deranged savages attacking anyone who comes near.  The infected are unstoppable unless their brains are somehow interrupted (like with a shotgun). 

Fleeing to a nearby rest stop the group seeks shelter from the ever-increasing crowd of shambling horrors.  They hook up with a soldier and scientist who know suspiciously more about the epidemic than meets the eye.  One of the group is bitten by an infected.  Can Simon keep it together amidst criminals and the undead?  Worst. Day. Ever.

Pros: Hotz's art is perfect for this dark thriller, great writing by Raicht - plot twists, pacing, dialogue, MAX book which allows appropriate level of gore and cursing (I'd be cursing up a storm if zombies were chasing me), nice revival of the The Zombie character (re-introduced in the '70s) for modern audiences, excellent ending which leaves room for sequel

Cons: Plot can be predictable (most zombie/horror stories are), characters are two-dimensional for the most part, short read
Just another day at the office throttling zombies

Mike Tells It Straight: Zombie was a pleasant surprise - good art, action-packed story, and it kept my interest throughout.  Hotz's art is dark and moody - a perfect fit for creepy zombie mayhem with some offbeat humor.  The MAX rating helps tremendously with a gore factor of 10 and plenty of colorful language.

Writing, dialogue, and plot twists by Raicht were well done.  Things got predictable at the end, but it was still a lot of fun.  The Zombie (aka Simon Garth) was originally created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett in a short story back in 1953 and was re-introduced with mild success in the '70s. 

This MAX series revives the Simon Garth character and takes away the voodoo aspect of his origin - also removing the amulet he wore which allowed others to control him.  Now his origin is aligned with the popular viral-plague-causes-zombie-apocalypse theme so prevalent in today's depiction of zombies. 

He goes on to star in a sequel The Zombie: Simon Garth which I plan to check out and review.  I was completely unfamiliar with the character in his previous incarnation, but recall seeing him appear in  Marvel Zombies 3 (cameo) and Marvel Zombies 4 (supporting character) which were previously reviewed.  I like the concept of the character and Zombie acts as an origin story (great jumping on point), but I'm not sure if his later stories will be as interesting.  The idea of a shambling, mute main character just doesn't seem very plausible for future stories.  Check this book out - it's a well-written and well-executed zombie story.

TO BUY and Recommendations: