Key of Z is the newest zombie miniseries, brought to you by the creator of The Amory Wars and Boom! Studios. Does this book have what it takes to separate itself from the shambling herd?

KEY OF Z #1 OF 4
Written and Created By: Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert
Art: Aaron Kuder
Colors: Charlie Kirchoff
Letters: Johnny Lowe
Covers: Nathan Fox, Tony Moore, Declan Shalvey
Editor: Ian Brill
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Price: $3.99

“Dying ain’t what it used to be.”


Key of Z is a zombie comic book, plain and simple. The story in this issue is a slightly rote set-up; our protagonist Ewing is a family man who’s had his family taken from him, and is looking for a bit of revenge. The action takes place in NYC a few years after complete societal collapse, with the power and populace concentrated in three Houses: Madison Square, Yankee, and Met. The latter two are led by territory hungry gangers who will surely come into conflict with our erstwhile hero.

There is a lot that is familiar here, and Sanchez & Echert’s dialogue doesn’t do anything to set their antagonists apart from any other number of post-apocalyptic ganger head honchos. What I did enjoy was the narration the writers gives Ewing, and the fast-paced storytelling style necessary for a four issue miniseries. An intense, brooding atmosphere is built by Ewing’s reminiscences, selling the horror of the setting. Opening with a Salvation Army Santa eating out of a dude’s torso helps, too.


The art is a real selling point for this book. Aaron Kuder’s style isn’t overly flashy, but it is highly detailed. Ghoulish set-pieces like a post-apocalyptic Times Square and a bridge replete with hanging corpses are rendered well in all their grisly glory. There are some artistic missteps; at times, the perspective is forced, and his human figures are a little too universally veiny. But Kuder’s talents are well-matched with this kind of subject matter. There is a lot of care in these backgrounds and details, and it pays off in spades.


Key of Z doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to zombie fiction. But it does what it does solidly and soundly. If you’re a zombie fan, and you’re looking for your next fix, Key of Z is what you want. Sanchez & Echert’s story looks to go in an interesting direction, and Kuder draws the hell out of some nasty zombies. Check it out. Four out of five stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆


About Author

George Chimples comes from the far future, where comics are outlawed and only outlaws read comics. In an effort to prevent that horrible dystopia from ever coming into being, he has bravely traveled to the past in an attempt to change the future by ensuring that comics are good. Please do not talk to him about grandfather paradoxes. He likes his comics to be witty, trashy fun with slightly less pulp than a freshly squeezed glass of OJ. George’s favorite comic writers are Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison, while his preferred artists are Guy Davis and Chris Bachalo, He loves superheroes, but also enjoys horror, science fiction, and war comics. You can follow him @TheChimples on Twitter for his ramblings regarding comics, Cleveland sports, and nonsense.

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