MIKE RAICHT / KYLE HOTZ
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:
An army convoy transporting a mysterious chemical runs into trouble, causing the chemical to leak into the immediate area and turn people into zombies. Driving into this are two bank robbers and their hostages, who literally run into trouble. They then head for a nearby rest stop and hole up with a few other people, including a crazy scientist and a solider who’s slowly turning into a zombie. Ho hum.
This is the collected first run of Marvel’s re-imagining of its Zombie character and is issued under the MAX banner…which is supposed to be a ‘suggested for mature readers’ type of thing, but all that really means, compared to normal Marvel, is a few f-words and extra gore – and even that’s boring.
Obviously, the only way to kill a zombie (which the main characters figure out pretty damn quickly) is to shoot them in the head. All this really means is that almost every single zombie that gets killed in ZOMBIE has their head explode. And believe me, I never thought I would find exploding zombie heads boring but so many scenes are filled with brains and eyeballs flying off at funny angles that it got very, very repetitive very, very quickly.
I’m afraid I’m not familiar with Mike Raicht’s work, but if this is the best he can do when given zombies to play with, it doesn’t really inspire confidence in his storytelling abilities. Oh look, it’s a fat, stupid bad guy who’s bullied by a skinny, smart bad guy. Ah, here come the army to clean up the mess…oh wait they’re just as evil as the undead! Maybe the chubby biker can prove an interesting charac-oh wait no hang on, he’s just been eaten in yet-another ‘Rhodes’ moment. It’s a wonder he didn’t shout ‘choke on ‘em!’ when the zombies ripped his guts out. Hmmmmmm.
Kyle Hotz, as well, is disappointing. I enjoyed his style when he drew The Hood but here, it’s…just…dull. It doesn’t help that this comic has perhaps the worst inking I have ever seen, leaving scenes looking washed-out and characters apparently suffering from yellow fever.
Back to the ‘re-imagining’ comment: Zombie is Simon Garth, who originally appeared in the 70’s as a typical voodoo zombie, albeit with some vestige of his soul still intact. This time around, he’s a bank teller, taken along for the ride by the guys who robbed his bank. During the tedious siege narrative that unfolds within ZOMBIE, Simon gets attacked, and subsequently infected. I’m really not spoiling things by telling you it ends with the army carting him off whilst going on about ‘having found a suitable subject’. The one good thing about this origin story is that I do want to see what sort of antics Brand New Zombie gets up to. But, since Mike Raicht also wrote the second run of comics I don’t want to find out that desperately.
There are a few other problems, including the idea that the rest stop is apparently in or near a small town, but you can’t really tell because there’s no sense of place, or of the outside world being that close. And you’re telling me a small military roadblock managed to hold off an entire army of zombies just long enough to provide the relevant ‘oh no we’re totally screwed’ reveal at the most opportune moment?
ZOMBIE is clichéd rubbish. It is about as substantial as a zombie fart; don’t bother wasting your time on this anaemic guff.