Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Walking Dead, Black Hole, Y: The Last Man

Walking Dead: Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore/Charlie Adlard

The zombie genre may be reaching saturation, but I still read anything with an animated corpse on the cover. As a result, I've read a lot of crap: stories that try to implement a humorous or interesting twist, but fall short and miss out on that satisfying classic zombie apocalypse feel. I have also read a lot of formulaic zombie stories, that stick so closely to a pattern that they are utterly predictable. Walking Dead, a long-running comic that follows former sheriff Rick, walks a fine line in the middle. The series finds a good balance between flesh-eating monsters and the drama of people trying to work together and survive. It establishes its own zombie science, which is moderately original but retains all the typical zombie hallmarks. The main characters find unique refuges and meet with other survivors, some of whom are very disturbing. But it doesn't feel episodic; it satisfies curiosity by exploring the spectrum of reactions to the end of the world. The comic is at 82 issues right now and I'm still looking forward to the release of every one, but I already feel like the story has been slightly overextended, and I hope the series ends before its fans are exhausted.

Black Hole: Charles Burns 

I got this for my birthday, and I'm glad I did, because it's very different from what I usually read. Black Hole is centered around four teenagers in the middle of an STD epidemic that turns its victims into mutants. The art style is haunting and graphic, the story adeptly capturing the fear of ostracism, isolation, uncertainty, and apathy of late adolescence. Reading it was a surreal and uncomfortable experience because of the reoccurring imagery of its hallucination/dream/vision sequences, and its frequent brushes with sex, violence, and grotesque deformity. But it was compelling, and the climax of one character's story was as heartbreaking as anything I've ever read.

Y: The Last Man: Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra

The premise of this comic is one of the most interesting I've ever come across. A disease sweeps across the entire planet, destroying every organism with a Y chromosome, human, animal, embryo and sperm alike – except for one guy, Yorick, and his pet monkey Ampersand. The characters are varied and interesting and I did grow to care about them, but what really keeps me thinking about this series is not so much them, but the things they see. As Yorick and his companions, Allison, a scientist, and 355, a secret agent, travel around the world, we see what has become of different civilizations as they recover from the catastrophic death of half their population. We find out who has filled the enormous power vacuum in nearly every field, from politics to military to trade. The ending was a little disappointing, just because it's hard to craft a conclusion big enough for such a fascinating and epic story.


So that's what I think about that stuff. Come back in a couple days for a link to Senseless. Then buy it!

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