Deadworld: War Of The Dead (Book) Review
- A good alternative to the popular The Walking Dead series
- "King Zombie," nuff said
- Art style fits the grim tone
Not so much?
- For newbies, not a lot of character summaries
- Yet another zombie product
If you can’t get enough of zombies, check out Gary Reed’s Deadworld: War of the Dead for a unique take on the zombie apocalypse.
If you were to pick up proverbial rock and throw it into the proverbial air, you just might hit a proverbial zombie. That’s because they’re everywhere! They’re in our video games, they’re in our movies, and they’re on our television shows. And based on the abysmally slow service and blank looks you’re given, they’re also working behind-the-counter at your local fast food establishment. *RIMSHOT!*
If you’re a mainstream zombie fan, and your be-all, end-all source for non-video game related zombie goodness is the The Walking Dead graphic novel and television series, you’ve likely just upset the horde of Deadworld fans that would like you to know that there are other good zombie comics out there. I will include myself into that group. I’m a zombie virgin when it comes to zombie-related graphic novels, and I go where I’m told (like a zombie — sorta), and when Deadworld: The War of the Dead fell into my lap, I was interested to see what it was all about.
Deadworld is a graphic novel series that has been around for a long time, and unless you’re a die-hard comic book fan, you might not have been aware of it (just like The Walking Dead fans may not have been aware of Robert Kirkman’s vision of the zombie apocalypse before the television series started.) Deadworld: War of the Dead is a compilation of a 5-part series that was released earlier this year.
Unlike the style of The Walking Dead (apologies for the continued usage of The Walking Dead as a basis of comparison), which focuses on realistic looking characters, Deadworld’s art style is an expressionistic mix of chaos and scratchiness, as if the story was drawn and colored by somebody in a frenzy. Just to be clear, that’s a compliment and not to be mistaken as a comment about laziness. I really liked the “scratchiness” of the style, and think it fits the story and the world brilliantly.
Another thing I liked about Deadworld: The War of the Dead were the characters, like King Zombie, who appears to be a zombie who has held onto his intellect. While other zombies are in it mostly for the brains, King Zombie still has his and uses it to lead an invasion to a outpost of human survivors appropriately (and ironially?) called Safe Haven.
Also rounding out the cast, are characters like Mike who’s skin has been infected, through experimentation, with leprosy. While leprocy is, like, totally gross and stuff, in the world of Deadworld, you might be wishing you had a case of it as lepers have a distinct advantage over human survivors: zombies ignore them because of their dead and decaying.
If that’s not enough, of the strange and supernatureal, there is also the sword wielding bad-ass protector Donna who seems to have some sort of zombie subconsciousness.
Mix everything together and it’s makes for a strangely compelling story, filled with an odd assortment of characters. Being a new reader to the Deadworld series, I did find myself lost trying to keep track of who was who, and what was what, and what exactly was going on. At the same time, while I didn’t get a lot of character backstory, I’m now that much more interested to go back and read some of the earlier Deadworld comics. I sort of felt like someone jumping into the 3rd season of a TV show, and while I enjoyed it, I felt a little lost. But like the latecomer to a popular series, I have the advantage of being able to go back and experience the healthy Deadworld back catalog without having to wait for new content, the same way the fans at the time.
Deadworld: War of the Dead is available for preorder at a MSRP of $19.99, and is scheduled to be released on November 20th, 2012. Writer Gary Reed offers a unique take on the overly familiar zombie apocalypse scenario, and Sami Makkonen does an excellent job painting the picture with a wonderful style of chaotic expressionism.
I reviewed the digital version of Deadworld: War of the Dead on a 3rd-generation iPad.