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5 May 2012

Zombie (2007)

I wonder if I'm reaching my limit on Zombies. Wouldn't that be a terrible thing!

"I don't feel... so... gahhhh..."
Zombies, 2007 MAX

This week I picked up a comic collection published by MAX called Zombie. I wouldn't have even considered this purchase a year ago; Comics haven't been on my radar for the longest time. I'm pleased to say that my eyes have been opened to the possibilities of good graphic novels. Check out my thoughts on Moore and Campbell's classic 'From Hell' for a comic that is simply done right.

Zombies, 2007 MAX

Zombie is a four part story based upon... well... zombies. My feeling is that someone sat down wanting to write a zombie comic and the story, whilst well rounded, was a secondary consideration. I've just learnt that MAX is an imprint of Marvel Comics which basically means that it's one of their brands. MAX apparently specializes in more adult themes. In this comic collection we've got a little bit of swearing and lots of gore, but that's about it.

Mike Raicht writes, and I have to say that I didn't really have a problem with the writing. I do have a problem with the story; It is very much a cliche, treading some very well-worn ground. That for me was the biggest turn-off. If this had been my introduction to the zombie scene then it would have been a fantastic start, but I've seen the essence of this story before, many, many times.

"No injuries have been reported..."
Zombies, 2007 MAX

For the record the story goes a little like this: Bank robbers escape the scene of the crime with money and two hostages. They jump a roadblock and stumble upon a supposed chemical spill. Something isn't quite right though: the victims are eating each other. Oh dear, oh dear! What will happen next?

The star of the show is bank clerk Simon William Garth.

If that last sentence meant nothing to you, feel comforted by the fact that it meant nothing to me either... until just now where I've learnt that Simon Garth is one of the most famous characters that nobody's ever heard of. He pre-dates Marvel themselves. The character started life in 1953 in a Stan Lee/Bill Everett story called "Zombie" and he appeared again in the 70s "Tales of the Zombie" series. Ah! So we have a little bit of zombie lore being woven here! I haven't read the earlier stuff, but I wonder if we have a sort of origins thing going on here? In this story he reminds be a bit of Ash, only he's not as cool.


"Whump!"
Zombies, 2007 MAX

The artwork is done by Kyle Hotz and Dan Brown. It's very polished. I can't fault it. They pull together a beautiful, effective, atmospheric mix of pictures that transport you into the story. It's ragged at times, but that's exactly what this sort of story calls for.

And that's it! Time to wrap up...

So on balance there are a lot of good things about this comic book. It's what you might expect of something that Marvel have put out. The problem I have is that this is all feeling a little bit tired to me. I didn't get that magic spark I was hoping for. This feels like the equivalent of Hollywood comic production; We've got all the right ingredients put together by some of the most capable people in the industry, but somehow it just isn't clicking...

On the Triple-B I'm going to stab you in the eye 6 times with my car keys. Hold on a second... how am I going to start the car now? Oh sh*t!

 

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