Night of the Living Dead is an influential film that sparked a genre. It saw imitators and innovators come after but that film remains a classic. The Rise #1 kicks off a prequel to the “Living Dead universe” focused on the “death, destruction, and tragedy that led to the birth of the modern zombie”. It’s an interesting start that feels more 28 Days Later than Living Dead.
Set upon the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis, The Rise #1 introduces us to Dr. Cartwright, a man working on a way to block out fear. As shown early on, that lack of fear creates rage and also the lack of fear of death. It feels like the early steps of “Rage”, the disease that fueled the zombie outbreak in the 28 Days Later franchise.
Writer George C. Romero infuses the story with politics by using the backdrop. It gives a solid reason for such work to be done as the world was gripped by the fear of nuclear disaster. Romero takes things further by hinting at the weaponization of this research, yet another military-fueled idea that ends in disaster for the world. It’s the type of underlying message Romero’s father embraced in his films. How much the series will lean into it is unknown but there’s clear finger-pointing and blame for the destruction of mankind.
Diego Yapur‘s art is fantastic. Along with limited colors by DC Alonso, and lettering by Saida Temofonte, the visuals are top-notch. The comic keeps it simple with the use of black, white, and reds for colors. It’s an interesting color palette that adds some aspects to be debated on. The red could represent the fear that the world is gripped by, the Communist threat, or the pouring of blood to come. It’s a solid artistic choice that adds an exclamation point to generally beautiful art that captures the time period well.
The Rise #1 is a solid comic. It does well to establish why this dangerous work is happening and hints as to the tragedy to come. It feels like a prequel to so many zombie stories though and not sure it really nails down Romero’s father’s work. But, it’s still really good with a build-up of the tragedy we know will come.
Story: George C. Romero Art: Diego Yapur
Color: DC Alonso Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy
Heavy Metal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Purchase: Zeus Comics