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Dec 2, 2009

wednesday comix: VICTORIAN UNDEAD #1

And so begins a new weekly feature here at FG: talking about horror comics. Why Wednesday? Because duh, that's new comic day. Why "comix"? Because duh, the "x" makes it cool. Anyway, I'll be reviewing books both new and old, posting up some art I like, interviewing people, or even posting my own comics-related junk on Wednesdays. Hooray for comics!

DC Comics hits the zeitgeist of hip current trends with Victorian Undead, as the series pits Sherlock Holmes against zombies. After the zombies became a huge hit on the indie circuit (led in large part by Robert Kirkman's ongoing zombie saga The Walking Dead), major publishers began incorporating the undead in their titles- most notably Marvel Zombies. Here we've got the world's greatest detective (sorry, Batman) pitted against the living-impaired. Is this mash-up possible without it simply being...well, a ridiculous cash-in?

Surprisingly, yes. In the hands of writer Ian Edginton, (no stranger to Holmes and other classic lit comic book adaptations), Victorian Undead is a bit closer to Doyle's vision than the forthcoming Guy Ritchie film looks to be.

A meteor plummets into the heart of London in 1854 causing widespread panic and death...and undeath.

Somehow, the zombie plague subsides until corpses are unearthed 40-odd years later as the London Underground is constructed. Dead bodies soon spring back to life looking to get their bite on, and authorities are baffled. There's clearly a mystery afoot, so naturally Scotland Yard calls on Sherlock Holmes and his ol' pal Watson.

If you can't get enough zombie action, you'll definitely dig this book as there's plenty of rotting action with the promise of more to come. The premise is familiar to anyone who's ever seen...well, anything to do with the undead, although who knows? There may be plenty of twists and turns down the road. As it stands, the Victorian setting is a welcome change from the modern band of misfits vs zombies formula.

Issue #1 (on sale now) boasts a delightfully fly-infested cover by the King of Zombie Comic Book Art, Tony Moore (he of The Walking Dead 1-6). The interiors, by Davide Fabbri, are a fantastic take on cartoonish realism...but dammit, it needs an inker.

All in all, it's a fun, pretty zombie comic with blood, mystery, and names like Jacques de Vaucanson dropped so you'll end up learning something new (he was totally inventing automatons in the 18th century). Thumbs up!

A copy of the comic was given to me by the publisher for reviewing purposes.

5 comments:

B.E. Earl said...

I saw a preview of the first few pages of this on io9.com a few months ago and I wasn't impressed with the interior artwork. Kind of like a watered down version of Andy Kubert's work on Origin or something. Maybe Fabbri DOES need a decent inker. Hey...don't you do that?

Dane said...

Right up my alley*, thanks for the heads up.

*Sherlocky.

Stacie Ponder said...

Why, yes, I am an inker! :D I'm not really pursuing it actively anymore, though...a dying art in a dying medium, sigh.

I don't think comics are going anywhere, but the monthly single issue is certainly struggling.

To cut corners & costs, most top publishers are doing away with inkers altogether- either they're hiring artists who pencil AND ink, or they're simply coloring directly over the pencils, as with this. To me, that only works when the pencils and colors combine to make art that looks painterly, as it did when Cary Nord & Dave Stewart worked together on Conan. When the penciler is simply trying to mimic inks using lead, well, it just looks like it needs to be inked. To me, anyway. Maybe these kids today don't notice or care.

I do dig the interiors, although there's nothing really groundbreaking happening- not that there needs to be. It's solid work, though. It'd pop with some inks, though. Reminds me a bit of a less bizarre Ryan Ottley (Invincible).

kristinaroth said...

ooo...

Zombies and comics for the win!

Now I need to scrounge the sofa cushions for change so I can go pick up a copy and check it out.

jenny said...

Horror Comics... er... Comix Wednesday! YES!