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The second installment of DC/Vertigo’s I, ZOMBIE brings us back into the world of zombie/detective Gwen Dylan and her motley crew of friends and foes. The first issue spent most of its pages more or less introducing us to the characters, and the last few setting the gears in motion. Before reading the second issue, I was ready for a predictable plot explosion wherein everything took off at breakneck speed; the stage had been set and all the players appeared to be at the starting position. But to my surprise (and relief), this series is turning out to be a slowly crafted, well-planned, outlandish romp!
We leave the second issue knowing a heck of a lot more about the desires and troubles plaguing the cast, and still only a tad more than we already did about where the main conflict is going. We are shown (in a very poignant scene) how Gwen interacts with the voices of the recently deceased, while the mystery of Fred’s death begins to unravel by way of a mummy and his white leopard, uh, spouse (?). Meanwhile, Scott the wereterrier realizes the current day’s night will bring forth a full moon, and we learn a little more about the paintball-reffing vampire girl’s master plan.
World Fantasy Award finalist Chris Robinson adds much-appreciated complexity to the characters he established in the first chapter. The plot moves at a very deliberate pace, making the discovery of every bit of new information that much more enjoyable. I assume each issue will slowly build in a similar fashion, inch by inch. Here’s hoping the payoff will be worth the trek.
As usual, the alternative/pop art styles of MADMAN’s Michael Allred make this issue appealing even at a glance, and the quirky tone set by Robinson is a perfect complement to his over-the-top pencil and ink work. I don’t believe I would enjoy the imagery as much if the story was written like a typical, by-the-numbers zombie gorefest. On the other hand, I don’t think I’d enjoy the writing as much if a different artist illustrated it. These two were made for each other.
Contrary to what the title and cover art will lead you to believe, there has been exactly one flesh-feasting fit spanning these two editions. This is not necessarily a bad thing; for me, it’s a breath of fresh air. Simply put, if you’re looking for more of those recycled, bloodsoaked pages of the countless zombie efforts out there, put this one back on the shelf. However, if your hunger pains tell you they crave something a little less soggy, with some actual weight to it (and a glob of the wackiest of insanities), bon appetit.
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