From Caleb Thusat, the writer of the Indie comic Alter-Life, comes this book, described as “a gorgeous greyscale comic with some gore, some laughs, and a biker-mortician. It’s an action-packed, fresh take on the zombie genre.”
Honestly, I thought I’d read all there was to do with zombies, especially in comics. Turns out I was wrong, dead wrong!
Previously in ZED: “It lasted three years, but the outbreak is over. Most of the infected have been isolated or destroyed. The vaccine was created on day 900, and now life is getting back to normal. Cities are repopulating, and there is a long-awaited sense of calm throughout the country.
“The PH-virus was relatively short lived thanks to Samuel Grace, genius scientist and the creator of the PH vaccine. His vaccine can prevent the spread of the virus, but cannot reverse it. Fortunately, Sam’s vaccine stopped the PH-virus before it decimated the world population, but the vaccine did not come without a cost. For three years Sam experimented on patient after patient, subject after subject. Tuning the vaccine carried a cost of both human and Post-Human life. One such test subject was Zed.
“Zed was a good friend to Sam. They grew up together and remained friends even though they grew apart when Sam pursued science and Zed lived the simple life of a carefree ice deliveryman.
“When the outbreak hit, society went into a frenzy of destruction. By year two, there was little need for deliverymen, and Zed wanted to help in any way he could. He offered to help Sam with his search for a cure. Although he successfully created a vaccination, Sam had other motives behind his research.”
FRIENDS ARE STILL FRIENDS AFTER THE APOCALYPSE
There are several things I really enjoy about this comic, and perhaps one of those I like most is the fact that people can still be friends here, even if one has been turned into a zombie.
I mean, that’s way, way different from other zombie books like The Walking Dead, for example, where people betray and abandon one another as fast as they can.
Much as he does in Alter-Life, Caleb works to make the people we encounter in ZED believable and understandable. They aren’t sheriffs or female ninjas or anything like that. Instead, they’re average people in an unusual situation. I could relate to them, even the biker-mortician. Hey, I’ve seen stranger things, believe me!
There is some time-jumping, so you need to pay attention, but the story makes sense as we go along. Things happen as they need to so we can understand just what’s going on in the main story.
And I really do feel sorry for Zed, who starts out being tested to see if he has the virus. When he does, he’s shot rather gruesomely, and is literally thrown out on the waste pile before he wakes up and makes his escape before being fried. He doesn’t exactly understand what’s happened to him, but he does know one thing – he wants to survive.
His friend Sam is one of the scientists working on a cure, and he makes sure Zed can contact him if he needs to. Boy, does he need to!
Bill, the aforementioned biker-mortician, is good at a lot of things, including sewing body parts to Zed so he can function as close to normal as possible. He’s the level head among the folks.
The pacing moves along quickly, and I found the dialogue engaging. Serious things are going on, but the people can find the humor in them at times.
I like the art in this title a lot, although it’s a little on the sketchy side for me. Still, the facial expressions are well done as well as the action sequences.
It seems that the black-and-white format works best with zombies, so who am I to quibble? Lots of grey images and backgrounds help us get in the mood, so it works for me.
BOTTOM LINE: Busting Through Their ‘Safe Zone!’
I always enjoy Indie comics because they can go where no zombie has gone before, as this book proves. Yes, it’s too gory for kids, I’m sure, but for those of us who have followed the undead as long as we have, it’s a joyride that will keep us engaged as often as this title comes out!
One cover shows Zed and Bill crashing through a barracade complete with “safe zone” sign while driving an ice truck, so you can see this book is not for the faint of heart!
To get your copy of ZED #1, go to the store at the Village Comics website. Oh, and if you missed it, you can also get Alter-Life #1 there! I enjoyed them both! Highly recommended for that quirky comics fan in your family or friends this holiday season!