The Mocking Dead is not a parody of The Walking Dead (sort of). However, it poses the question, what if we had fan boys combat our zombies? Aaron Bunch and Vanessa Malik were analysts for a division of the government called Tinseltown. Their job was to examine books, movies and television shows and set up contingency plans for them in case they were to happen in real life. However, Tinseltown was deemed useless, shut down and most of its members laid off, save Vanessa. However, when zombies or Zeds begin to attack people in Pennsylvania, it is up to Aaron to save them by implementing his Contingency Plan-Z.
Creative back story
Lots of comedic elements
Stereotyped character designs and carbon copy background characters
Unnecessary narrator driving the plot
Previously in The Mocking Dead: Zeds have risen in Pennsylvania. The government’s Defense Intelligence Agency invades the home of Aaron Bunch, a former Tinseltown analyst and expert on zombies. Vanessa Malik, also a former Tinseltown analyst who is now working for the Agency, enlists his help to combat this new threat. They travel to the Pentagon where they are briefed on the situation. While at the meeting, Aaron finds similarities between these zombie occurrences and a movie he saw as a child, The Mocking Dead. He maps out his plan to stop the Zeds, which includes arming the military with flamethrowers.
ZOMBIES VERSUS THE UNITED STATES MILITARY
Fred Van Lente’s comedy zombie comic continues with The Mocking Dead #2. Aaron Bunch works with the military to combat the Zeds. He also tries to track down a copy of the Mocking Dead, believing it holds the key to stopping the zombies. Even though he has mapped out a flawless plan for the military, it goes badly when they decide to not follow Aaron’s instructions. The writer does an excellent job bringing humor to the serious horror genre. Most of his characters are flawed and their mistakes add to the comedic elements of this issue. However, instead of being part of the action like most zombie comics, the reader has an outside view to the conflict. It makes the comic less horrifying since the characters are not experiencing the zombie terrors. Fred Van Lente also introduces anti-government and anti-corporation themes. The bungling of Zed containment within Pittsburgh shows the ineptitude of both the US military and their military contractors. While blame for the catastrophe falls on their contractors, the military is equally responsible for the tragedy. The e-mails littered throughout the comic add a better understanding of the characters involved in the plot. One thing lacking in this issue that was established in The Mocking Dead #1 is the mysterious narrator. He speaks in a few panels but is mostly non-existent. After reading the first two issues, I feel the comic does not need a narrator. Also the beginning sequence seems a bit out of place until the end scene.
EERILY SIMILAR BLACK AND WHITE ARTWORK
Max Dunbar’s black and white artwork for the Mocking Dead is similar to the artwork in the Walking Dead. Although the design and style are different, the black and white tone brings an association to the popular comic book. Also some of the designs for the characters are a little too stereotypical. Aaron Bunch is a amalgam of many stereotyped “geek” qualities: overweight, glasses and unshaven. Also, background character designs have little variation to each other. Some examples of this are in the opening scene and military personnel. However, I like the transition between past Vanessa and present Vanessa. Her transformation is subtle but believable.
BOTTOM LINE: A GOOD ZOMBIE COMEDY
Fred Van Lente and Max Dunbar do a good job creating a zombie parody comic that any fan of the genre can enjoy. Despite its lack of horror elements, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. It is not the Walking Dead, but it has some great creativity support it.