EMPIRE OF THE DEAD
Vampires and Zombies. That’s what one of the best artists in comics today and the master of the Zombie movie genre deliver in this new book from Marvel. There is a nice tie-in to the original Night of the Living Dead film, and an intriguing twist with the still sentient living dead S.W.A.T. member, Xavier, and a red eyepatch-wearing vampire sporting a red cape with a thirst for the blood of pretty girls. And who doesn’t love a good zombie gladiatorial brawl? George A. Romero (Everything of the Dead) sprinkles some hokey cheese throughout Empire that is related to the underlying theme of taming zombie aggression. To accentuate the argument of auto remembered behavior vs. true intelligence in the zombies, we have scenes of a “stinker” (as they are sometimes called in the comic) hanging laundry, and two of the dead playing chess in a park.
While interesting, the presentation came across a bit forced and corny. That aside, Alex Maleev’s (Spider-Woman) art in this issue is flat out fantastic. The book is at times moody, dark and somber. Certain scenes, through the use of heavy blacks and muted tones, really highlight the terrifyingly claustrophobic feel of the dead city of New York. It is a beautiful book to look at in a similar fashion to Snyder and Murphy’s The Wake.
As for the overall story and Romero’s writing, the pacing is good and the dialogue comes off as natural. The Padre’s problem with the comic, then, is that this story feels like an offshoot of some of his recent of the Dead films, complete with cardboard characters and predictable plot. It isn’t a bad comic by any stretch; it’s just a mostly boring one until its undeadly last quarter.