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Review: Pestilence #5

pestilence 5 cover.jpg

“As the Church’s conspiracy tightens and the zombie outbreak reaches its peak, Roderick Helms and his men must storm Westminster Abbey to find the one object that can end it all! Will Fiat Lux succeed? Or will the zombie apocalypse reign forevermore?”

Perhaps the best way to describe this series is with the following three words: medieval zombie apocalypse.  Expanding upon that a little, the basic premise posits that the Black Death that ravaged Europe in the middle ages wasn’t an epidemic of the plague, but rather something equally as deadly yet far more terrifying; zombies. 

Following a band of warriors by the name of Fiat Lux as they try to rescue the Pope (who has been bitten by a zombie but seems able to resist the infection – for now) and escape the open country by getting to Paris. But as the soldiers’ numbers dwindle the zombies intelligence grows.

Pestilence is a series I’ve been enjoying ever since my LCS popped the first issue into my pull box, yet for whatever reason I’ve never sat down to talk about it here. Obviously that’s changing now. The fifth issue is another solid entry in the series in much the same way that you know what to expect with a certain brand of pick-up truck; it doesn’t do anything new, but it does do exactly what you need a medieval zombie story to do. 

Frank Tieri moves the story at an incredible pace as Fiat Lux travel toward their destination and eventual conclusion – much like Indiana Jones traveling from one country to another he doesn’t waste page time to tell you about the journey from point A to point B if there’s nothing relevant that happens on said journey. While it’s an effective device to keep things moving, it could be a little jarring to (not)see the characters travel hundreds of miles with nought but a narration bubble for explanation, however I enjoy the quick pace that lends to the story – obviously your mileage may vary.

Artistically, I’m in love. Oleg Okunov‘s art is utterly perfect for this story, and credit should also be given to colourist Rob Schwager and letterer Marshall Dillon for their contributions to the visuals on the page. The story doesn’t shy away from the violence that we associate with the middle ages (as well as with zombie stories), and the art more than highlights the casual brutality that you’d expect in this kind of comic. 

Look, I’m not going to lie to you; I read the comic and was thinking of giving it an overall rating of around 7.5, but then when I started thinking about the issue, and the series in general, I couldn’t find anything that justified that score – especially when I enjoyed this more than almost any other comic I’ve read this week.  Sometimes it really pays to think about what you’ve just read – and when this series is released in trade, I urge you to check it out because it’s awesome (but you’ve got one more issue to wait for before the trade will be collected). Possibly one of the best series from AfterShock right now.

Story: Frank Tieri Art: Oleg Okunov
Colourist: Rob Schwager Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

AfterShock did provide Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review, but I’ll be buying this anyway.

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