If you escaped from hell, would you go back just because someone asked you to? It seems that is what our heroine, Selene has done, as we follow her continuing adventures after the events of the movie 28 Days Later. Why does the man named Clint want her to go back to infected London, and why does she agree to it?
When the movie was release back in 2002, 28 Days of Night received some excellent reviews. The concept was not exactly new; a mysterious outbreak ravages an area and a group of survivors try and find safety against the inhuman creatures which where once their neighbors. It is the basis for nearly every zombie movie that was ever made, and a formula that works well. One of the things that made 28 Days Later stand out was that these where not exactly zombies, they where vessels filled with a rage and hatred that no amount of pleading with could turn from their goal; to rip you to shreds. Not only that, but these mugs can run, fast!
I must say before I start the review of Boom Studios new hardback collection of their 28 Days Later ongoing series, I did review the third issue back in October, and another Major Spoiler contributor, Marlow Lewis, reviewed the first in August of last year. I say this simply because I did not go into this collection completely unaware, I had prior knowledge of what to expect. And, as I may have mentioned back in October, this is not exactly the type of book I normally follow.Â Not only is it based on a movie, it is a sequel which is sandwiched between the first and second cinematic endeavors. Everything you know about this book, if you have not read the Major Spoilers reviews, say that it should be delegated to the bargain bin within six months, and be in grab bags a year from now.Â That is what conventional wisdom says. Amazing how conventional wisdom can get it wrong.
This first arc tells the story of Selene, one of the survivors of the first movie, as she is languishing in a refugee camp in Norway. Approached by a reporter named Clint Harris, he asks her to lead him into the heart of the infection, London, so as he and his team can find out the real cause behind the infection.Â Selene, seemingly broken from what she had to do to get out of England alive in the first movie, turns him down cold, only to change her mind and agree to be his guide. The events after the movie, and before the opening of our collection, have turned Selene into an even harder woman than she was before the credits rolled. With her long coat, gas mask and scarf, she strikes a rather heroic image; only when the machete flashes do you realize that this is a woman that is willing to do whatever it takes to survive. The blood flows early and the body count piles up quickly by the end of arc. Hounded not only by the infected, but by the military who are trying to enforce a blockage around Britannia, Selene and the survivors of the news team face an uncertain immediate future. Will they reach their destination of London, of will the wave of infected sweep over them leaving behind little more that ghost of the men and women who started off on the ill-fated expedition?
Throughout the collection, Michael Alan Nelson writes tense and sharp dialogue. Conversation between people, interspersed with jokes and jabs to ease the tension, read well and have a quality that makes you believing that they just might be on a bad hiking trip across Europe instead of running for their live from rage-filled infected. Nelson manages to give out several Oh $#!+ moments that help build up the cliffhanger effects of each issue, and his portrayal of human motivations in an inhuman setting ring true enough to be disturbing.
On the art front, I could not have picked a better artist for this series if I tried. Declan Shalveyâ€™s art stands out on the page like a raw nerve soaked on lemon juice. It puts you on edge and gives the dialogue that extra little push that has you checking the locks on the door, just in case. From great character designs to coloring that sets the mood, his work is a guilty joy to see, and it is a major ingredient to the success of the book.
28 Days Later is one of those rare media tie-ins that actually enhance the original work that it was based on.Â Is it perfect?Â No.Â There are a few small blemishes on the story, but most seem to be dangling plot threads that could be picked up later. As far as blaring holes in the story, there are none in my opinion. It is a joy to read, and I look forward to future collections.Â The volume earns 4.5 Stars.