You’ve got to admit it – zombies are still HOT, no matter what time period they’re found in.
Take, for example, Pestilence #1 from AfterShock Comics. It examines the zombie phenomenon from the perspective of an era of faith rather than one of modern-day science.
Writer: Frank Tieri
Artist: Oleg Okunev
Published by: AfterShock Comics
Cover price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: It’s the late 14th Century, and a Great Pestilence —the “Black Death”— is sweeping across Europe, killing over 100 million people. BUT, what if history as we know it was a lie? What if, in reality, this was no straightforward plague, but the FIRST non-recorded Zombie Infestation of man? Ex-Crusader Roderick Helms and his fellow “black ops” agents the Church, Fiat Lux, must seek out the cause of this undead outbreak and vanquish it before mankind ceases to exist!
Written by the master of violence, gore, and mayhem, Frank Tieri (Marvel vs. Capcom, Wolverine, Deadpool), with spectacular art from Disney illustrator Oleg Okunev, and covers by Eisner Award-nominated artist Tim Bradstreet (The Punisher, Hellblazer)!
A TIME OF TERROR
Zombies terrify us now, when we like to think our science will save us. Imagine living in an era when the only thing standing in the way of death was the Church, and not everyone believed in it.
In the time period of Pestilence, authorities are often believed without question, and if you DID challenge the Church or the government of your day, you met your final end via the Fiat Lux, a group of assassins who, probably like Wolverine, were the best at what they did – namely, killing.
Being part of this group was the best of times because you enjoyed your profession as sanctioned by the Church, assuring you of eternal life when the time came.
So imagine coming across a challenge not even you could overcome? Like brain-chomping zombies?
I love the choice of setting in this comic since it helps us understand just how terrifying zombies could have been in this time period. Tieri also does an excellent job of making the characters relatable as well as believable, making what happens to them as this adventure begins all the more unsettling.
There are times when a Medieval text font is used, and most of the time, what’s being communicated is understandable. A little less ornate font might have worked better, although it does transport us back to that time.
The pacing is quick, the interactions fascinating. The writing is strong in how it brings us back to the 14th Century, by these various characters’ sides as they do what they enjoy doing … that is, until one is bitten by a zombie! That just can’t end well!
It’s organized chaos just the way Tieri does it best!
THE ART IS PERFECT FOR THE STORY
I loved the choice of colors in this book, often dark and dreary, which fits the mood so well. I also was pulled into the art instantly, and was transported back to this time and situation immediately. Craggy images appropriate for the period. Good job!
The art also felt “real” to me in that I could hear voices laughing at one point when everyone on the page was laughing. I also felt that the facial expressions and action sequences were strong, helping me know what was going on. I always appreciate that!
BOTTOM LINE: Getting Medieval on Zombie Ass
A word of warning to parents – This book has language and situations that the little ones really shouldn’t be exposed to you. I always think that’s important since there still is a perception among some that every comic book is suitable for all ages. Nope.
I always enjoy AfterShock’s comics because stories are told with such high quality! I love the level of engaging both character and plot in this debut issue and will be back for more! If you can’t get enough zombie in your reading diet, be sure to let Pestilence ravage you! The first issue is already out, with the second one coming on June 7, 2017! Highly recommended!
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