By Andy Frisk
November 7, 2010 - 17:13
Gwen isn’t a normal zombie. She isn’t all “shambling and mindless,” as she calls it, like most zombies that come to mind. She does run the threat of turning into the classic zombie though if she doesn’t consume one human brain a month. By doing so she manages to avoid losing her own mind, but there are a few catches. The longer she goes without consuming a brain the more of the memory of her previous life she loses, and she psychically absorbs the memories of the recently deceased individual whose brains she is consuming. She makes the best of the situation by playing paranormal detective and solving either the previous brain’s owner’s death (if by foul play) or looking into issues or misdeeds from the life of the deceased which she absorbs from the brain. As unique as she is, Gwen isn’t the only paranormal creature living in Eugene, Oregon. There’s been a shortage of brains available to Gwen recently as the bodies of the newly deceased are mysteriously disappearing from the town hospital and morgue. A team of monster hunters (one of whom Gwen is becoming involved with) are hunting the local group of female vampires operating in the city (they run an all night paintball course where they snack on the late night players). Complicating matters further, one of the vampires might have a closer personal connection to Gwen than either of them realize…
Chris Roberson (Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love) and Michael Allred’s (Madman) incredibly fun, witty, and creepy series launches into a new story arc this month with the first chapter of “uvampire” titled “”Vampires are Sucky!” Gwen and her supporting cast, which includes a 1960s go-go-ghost and a were-terrier, form the core of a group of characters that only Roberson and Allred could have come up with and brought to life. There’ve been series before that have taken a more lighthearted look at horror type characters who live out their lives much like the rest of us and worry about things like the opposite sex, finding where the coolest place to hangout is, and figuring out what it means to be cool anyway, but Roberson and Allred invest these characters with a great deal of personality and life. This personality and life looks strong enough to support a long string of tales and adventures, both in the thematic worlds of the paranormal and of the struggling twenty-something looking to figure out not just who they are, but how they will make their way in the world.
Allred’s pop art tinged pencil and heavy ink lines are used to full effect in izombie. This gives the series its unique (but completely recognizable) signature Allred look. It’s been stated, very obviously over the years, that Allred’s style is reminiscent of the comic book/pop art of the 1950s and 1960s, but what makes this fact worth mentioning again is that when Allred uses his retro-looking style to draw modern gadgets like smart phones and modern automobiles the entire work takes on a highly post-modern look. His characters, whose look is straight out of the past, exist in a contemporary world and utilize contemporary world devices. Along with being a master the retro art look, Allred is a master of sequential art as art form in and of itself. His characters are well proportioned, and he very subtly and deftly crafts unique visages for each character. Sometimes retro looking art can be pretty cookie cutter in nature. Allred’s isn’t and this is exceptional for an artist whose style thrives on the minimalism of the retro sequential art look.
Overall, izombie is a unique slice of pop-paranormal art. Its main characters are fantastic and have their roots in the world of horror and fantasy, but are just as human on the inside as you and I. Roberson and Allred have managed to create a unique cast of characters who look like they just might be alive (or at least undead) for a long time.
Rating: 10 /10