Review: Z Nation #3
Writers: Craig Engler and Fred Van Lente
Artist: Edu Mena
Colourist: Sal Aiala
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
‘It’s a year into the zombie apocalypse, a worldwide tipping point when most of the surviving population dies and turns zombie. All remaining forms of government collapse. The last vestiges of civilization are abandoned. Everyone is starving and nobody is safe. Amidst the chaos, a small team of National Guard set out on a Hail Mary mission to find a cache of the food substitute Soylent Z, which may be the only hope to save the few people left.’
Anyone would have thought that after so many years of churning out Zombie films, books and comics, society would have had their fill. Thankfully, today we’re still as hungry for Z-fetish media as a vegan zombie craving brains. As you’re all aware, Z-Nation has been on our small screens for the past few years and, although never reaching the span of the adaptation of The Walking Dead series, it yet has a band of followers and I would imagine it’s these fans who make up the lion’s share of the readership of the comic. However, I feel the comic should be have a bigger readership as to describe it as a mere TV show spin-off is not doing it justice.
This issue revolves around the ship, The Empress of the Seas, and its thrown together crew, as they encounter a rogue navy vessel with a rag-tag bunch of pirate-esque raiders on the hunt for Soylent Z, women or anything else they can lay their hands on. The world of the series has a Crossed feel to it and the colouring is similar. It’s bright and bold, and doesn’t retreat into the greys and darkened hues of other horror titles; this horror doesn’t have to lurk in the shadows as it’s within the people, not the zombies – the depths that humanity are prepared to sink to, albeit in a shallow, black and white portrayal. The emphasis is on fun here. The assault on The Empress raises the excitement levels a couple of notches with the introduction of the zombie-parachute-sling shot which could have been straight out of Mad Max, if Mad Max ever got a taste for brains. However, the action is over all too quickly, leaving me wanting more.
And this may be the major reason I’m holding back from all out praise for his fun series; other than the major returning characters, we never really get to know the b-listers or the newcomers. It kinda feels like a one-night-stand. The monstrous crew of the attackers, under the leadership of The Steve, could have provided a solid future storyline, with some development, yet the writers are poised to move on in the next issue. A bit of a shame.
The lettering is pretty decent with great use of bold and shaped speech bubbles for effect. The placement is neat and generally tucked away allowing the glorious action to take center stage. The art itself has a strong realistic style and wide and long shots allow for some rather good detail. The zombies themselves are gruesome but not unnecessarily over the top. They are depicted as swift and dangerous which is much more alarming than the slow hordes archetype. But, as stated previously, the zombies aren’t the main act, which some readers may find disappointing. Other issues have been dominated by the zombies so in comparison, this is reaching out to the reader’s sensibilities on a different level, but it’s all good fun and worth checking out for yourself, especially if you like fast paced and straight-forward, action horror.
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Review written by Arun S.