In movies, video games, novels, and comics, zombies seem to be everywhere.
The only horror tropes more played out at this point are pale little Japanese girls who can’t keep their hair out of their damn eyes or walk in a straight line, and vampires, the latter seeing a huge resurgence thanks to the pox upon humanity known as Twilight.
For the record, I’m on Team Don’t Give a Damn.
But if I see one more Twilight faux goth at the mall, I’m converting to Team Haymaker without hesitation, I swear it…
But just when you thought you’d seen all zombies had to offer, that if you’d seen one zombie you’d seen ‘em all, that you’d rather spend $2.99 on a colonoscopy in the back of some guy’s van than buy another zombie themed comic, out of Texas came Chris Roberson and his iZombie.
Yes, the guy who somehow managed to salvage Grounded in Superman—you know, the story where Superman got all emo and walked for a million issues that was somehow greenlit by the powers that be—after JMS left has another book under DC’s Vertigo imprint.
“Roberson.” Texan for “Miracle Worker.”
So, what makes iZombie stand out from the rest?
Well, imagine if Scooby Doo and Buffy the Vampire Slayer had some sort of weird, unnatural tryst with the X-Files after a few bottles of JD and a line or two of coke.
Now keep imagining.
STOP! You’ve gone too far.
All right, so that image in your head right before Busey made your soul shriek?
That’s iZombie in a nutshell.
And it is worth every second.
First off, it’s illustrated by the legendary Mike Allred, of Madman fame.
If that right there isn’t enough to hook you, we can no longer be friends and exchange Christmas cards.
Second, it’s not your regular zombie book and horror in the strictest sense of the term.
The character of Gwen is a zombie who appears to be very much like the rest of us—albeit a bit on the purple side—that must eat a fresh brain once per month to avoid becoming a mindless, shambling extra in a Romero movie.
Or, you know, this guy.
Employed as a gravedigger, she’s not hard pressed to find them, but the biggest problem—aside from eating brains—is that she absorbs the memories of the brain’s owner, sometimes even leading her to solve the mystery of who they were or how they died.
But it doesn’t just stop there.
She hangs out in the cemetery with Ellie, a ghost who died back in the mid 20th century, and acts every bit the part.
There’s also Scott, the were-terrier.
Yup, you read that right.
But, really, cute as he is, you do NOT want to take this guy for a walk on taco night…
The concepts of the over- and undersoul are utilized perfectly by Roberson in explaining why and how supernatural beings exist in our world and the larger mystery woven throughout iZombie is that there is some sort of otherworldly clash coming between two opposing forces, a war that Gwen herself is somehow pivotal to.
On both sides of the battle stand Amon and Galatea, the former having a deeper connection to Gwen that we have just started getting to know about, and neither one of them being what you’d necessarily call the “good” guy.
Caught in the middle of it all, aside from reluctant hero Gwen and her friends, are divergent groups like an enclave of vampires who run a paintball business and only “sample” customers so as not to draw undue attention to their activities from a covert monster hunting organization not unlike the Initiative from Buffy’s fourth season, a member of which Gwen has become romantically attached to in recent months.
Then of course we have the Dead Presidents, another team fighting for the forces of light, but comprised of supernatural beings bearing the monikers of, you guessed it, dead former presidents of the US.
Not to be confused with this nonsense…
Each arc has been five issues long, with a stand-alone issue following, and has been building upon the previous ones. With the third one having just wrapped up, we are finally starting to see the slow burn pay off, as all of the different sides of the war are converging and Gwen is beginning to unlock to mysteries surrounding her past life and her untimely death.
So if you’re looking for a solid and, more importantly, fun comic to try out, do yourself a solid and hit up iZombie.
It’s got a bit of something for everyone and far cheaper than an iPad or iPod or any of those other iThings these crazy kids today are into nowadays.
Bored by Zombie Comics? Here’s an App for That…