Ashley Neuhaus 31-JULY-2012 IDW Publishing is set to release issue one of the five-issue weekly series DEADWORLD: WAR OF THE DEAD on August 1, 2012. If you couldn’t tell from the title, yes, it’s another zombie book. But this isn’t just any zombie book. For a change of pace, this book has got smart zombies, ones who can think and manipulate other zombies (and humans)! Gary Reed is taking the zombie genre to another level with this story and Sami Makkonen brings it to life with his dark, gritty art. Some SPOILERS ahead!
DEADWORLD is a story of horror. Of survival. Of hope and despair. It is a saga of modern man facing his darkest side… where science and technology are no longer his allies. Where his power of reasoning is no longer his weapon alone. DEADWORLD is death… yet life.
The story opens on two men sitting at a desk talking with a shrouded figure about sending out a signal. Through the narration we discover that the figure is among the living dead. We’re told that he is the victim of a science experiment where he was injected with leprosy to see its effects on zombies. The results? Only the flesh was dead, inside was still bursting with life. This would come in handy as Reed lays out the attack plan later on in the issue.
I felt a bit thrown around throughout the issue. There didn’t seem to be any clean transition between scenes. One minute we’re following Mike, the shrouded figure, who is walking nicely through town and the next we’re seeing a bunch of humans running for their lives. The narration doesn’t lend a hand in the transition either. It’s as if Reed got distracted by something shiny and forgot where he was so he starts somewhere else. While this group of humans are trying to decide how to use the rest of their bullets, a sword-wielding woman jumps from the bushes and beheads a couple of zombies. I wonder if Reed picked up a few pointers with the Michonne-love from WALKING DEAD when he created this character who we later find out is named Donna.
I enjoy a dark, gritty art style and Makkonen’s work fits well with the dark attitude of DEADWORLD but at times I feel it’s a bit too much. The art of some characters at times tended to become a little indistinguishable as it was hard to tell expressions on their faces at times. One of the things that turned me off with the art was the blurring of the edges. I get it for the effect of a flashback sequence like when Donna is talking to Mike about how she became to be possessed or when Dan’s past was revealed but it was too much. I felt like it took away from the emotions of the scene.
I’m intrigued to see where Reed goes with this story in the next four issues. I want to know more about this King Zombie, who is manipulating other zombies and why they allow it. I think the journey to find the answer will cause readers to take a closer look at humanity and what goes on. And what’s up with that catatonic old man that the King seems to think is the answer to unlocking the future. That being said, I’m in for issue two of this book. This round goes to Reed, you’ve got me, sir.