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Catching Up on Reviews, Part 3 — Zombies!

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28 Days Later #20 (Boom!) – I’m a big fan of this series and this is one of the issues that most strongly ties into the movies, acting as a direct sequel to the first movie. The art isn’t my favorite, but the story of a deranged soldier seeking revenge for the events of the movie is interesting.

Story: 8 Art: 7 Overall: 7.5

28 Days Later #21 (Boom!) – This issue ties directly into the second movie, but it is one of the slower issues and the story here just doesn’t strike me as that valuable addition to what’s going on.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

28 Days Later #22 (Boom!) – It’s good to see a storyline that really digs into Selena’s past, going back before even the movies themselves. The art continues to be a bit subpar, but the story is worth a read for fans of the movie.

Story: 8 Art: 6.5 Overall: 7.25

28 Days Later #23 (Boom!) – Selena even more directly jumps into the story of 28 Weeks Later in this action-paced and fast-paced issue.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7 Overall: 7.25

28 Days Later #24 (Boom!) – The ending here seems to be taken directly from 28 Weeks Later and thus doesn’t seem to have too much to add to the ongoing tale of Selena beyond finishing things up.

Story: 7 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6.75

Marvel Zombies Supreme #1 (Marvel) – The Marvel Zombies series of stories started out strong but with each new series it seems like the ideas are running a bit thin and this series is the thinnest concept yet. It is good to bring the concept into the main Marvel Universe and make the danger real for once, but to give us a zombie Squadron Supreme and have them fight people like Battle Star and Jack of Hearts makes me wonder if these series should be continued at all.

Story: 6 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75

Marvel Zombies Supreme #2 (Marvel) – There are lots of good visuals in this issue and Fernando Blanco pulls off some great work, but the story still isn’t that compelling and this one is really all about the visuals and not the story.

Story: 6 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.25

Marvel Zombies Supreme #3 (Marvel) – A lot fewer great visual ideas fill this issue, and the story doesn’t improve, so this turns out to be the worst issue of the series yet.

Story: 5.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.5

Marvel Zombies Supreme #4 (Marvel) – The problem with Fernando Blanco’s work is that he only seems to do great stuff with particular panels that have great ideas behind them. When the idea is more mundane, so is the art. The story here deteriorates (and it wasn’t that good in the first place), becoming, for too long a Jack of Hearts origin tale. There is a pretty cool shock ending, but this story is starting to heavily recycle ideas from other Marvel Zombies stories (such as a severed zombie head companion that is basically a good guy).

Story: 5 Art: 7 Overall: 6

Marvel Zombies Supreme #5 (Marvel) – The series continues to recycle ideas from other zombie stuff (and now the movie Slither) without adding much in the way of new ideas. On top of that, it changes the rules about zombie infection in a way that somewhat betrays older stories. Please, Marvel, don’t do any more zombie stories until you come up with some new ideas. Wait, you’re doing a zombie Christmas Carol next? Dammit.

Story: 4.5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 5.5

Night of the Living Dead — Death Valley #1 (Avatar) – What made the original Night of the Living Dead so good was not that it just had gratuitous violence and the walking dead, it was that it had that AND compelling characters that you identified with. All this has is bad art, gratuitous nudity and no real point.

Story: 3 Art: 5 Overall: 4

Night of the Living Dead — Death Valley #2 (Avatar) – Slightly better story in this one, but I’m not sure why Avatar thinks this comic is worth publishing. Is it a cynical ploy to cash in on the zombie craze and the name of the movie? I can’t think of any other reason this mini-series exists.

Story: 4 Art: 5 Overall: 4.5

Night of the Living Dead #3 (Avatar) – This series tries a little harder than the Death Valley series, in that it ties in racial politics and the Vietnam War, but it still falls short in the art and character development side.

Story: 5.5 Art: 5 Overall: 5.25

Night of the Living Dead #4 (Avatar) – This issue pointlessly ramps up the nudity without adding anything else of value.

Story: 5 Art: 5 Overall: 5

Night of the Living Dead #5 (Avatar) – We finally see an increase in the quality of the story here, with a strong racial confrontation and the novelty of Richard Nixon being bitten by a zombie. There is a major plot hole here in the actions that some of the refugees take in running from the zombies, though.

Story: 6 Art: 5 Overall: 5.5

Night of the Living Dead Annual 2011 (Avatar) – An unnecessary morality play with minor elements of race and major elements of rape and violence against women, this is another pointless Living Dead tale from Avatar.

Story: 5 Art: 5 Overall: 5

The Walking Dead #81 (Image) – After wading through a bunch of horrible zombie comics from Avatar and Marvel, it’s good to get back to the good stuff, with one of the best comics in the business. This one has great art, as always, and an increase in the menace level for the first time in a few issues, leading to a notable moment of violence.

Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.25

The Walking Dead #82 (Image) – Some of the best writing in the series is in this issue and it has little to do with zombies. The focus here is really on how adults and kids deal with trauma and a world where you have little control or power over what happens. If you were in that situation, how would you change? That’s what this issue explores and explores well.

Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.75

The Walking Dead #83 (Image) – This is maybe the most controversial issue of the series to date and I understand why some people hate it, but the issue really fits not only the themes and tone of the series, it embraces them at a very high level. If you should get any message from this series about how the world these characters live in, it’s that no one is safe. Robert Kirkman lives up to that here and does it in an amazing way.

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

The Walking Dead #84 (Image) – This issue is an action-packed catharsis that is much needed after the shock of issue #83. And despite things eeming so grim that the natural instinct of the reader is to despair, the character that least seems likely to be a beacon of hope becomes one.

Story: 9.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.75

The Walking Dead #85 (Image) – How do you deal with the aftermath of a major traumatic event? How do you deal with a major traumatic event that is just another trauma in a long line of traumas? This issue explores those questions in a way that few other works of art ever have. The answers aren’t 100% satisfactory, but they are compelling and interesting.

Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9

The Walking Dead #86 (Image) – After years of this comic being largely about the characters reacting to the unending horror that flies at them, we finally start to see the characters start moving in a proactive direction. It’s a change that has been long-awaited, but the slowness of the change seems authentic and it makes sense.

Story: 9.25 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.5