Written and illustrated by: Niles, Calero, Olmos, Jones
Released by: Fox Atomic Comics
This comic was made to fill in the gaps between the movie “28 Days Later” and its sequel “28 Weeks Later.” And to fill in some of the backstory in to what caused these events. And although I don’t really like horror/zombie comics they’ve started to grow on me as I’ve read more of them lately, although I prefer ones with more interesting twists to them, such as the comic series “Rotten.” Not having seen either movie made reading the comic interesting, but I had heard good things about the first movie so I was pretty excited to read the issue.
The story is told in four parts. In the first part we find two scientists having an argument about whom to test there latest project on–a drug that will stop uncontrollable rage. And after a misfire with testing it on a human subject they go to monkeys for testing. But something goes horribly wrong. The virus mutates…into an uncontrollable rage virus affecting everyone bitten by the creature as it rampages through London. It soon spreads throughout the city, claiming families and children and everyday people under its terrible power, turning them into unrecognizable creatures. Soon the entire city of London is deserted except for the creatures that have been infected by the virus. And they hunt for their next meal. The few brave souls remain in the city are killing the creatures one by one, in an attempt to take back their homes and hopefully find their loved ones still alive. And then the army moves in. In the fourth and final chapter, we find our characters under close guard and under the protection of armed troops. But they fear the army maybe keeping them for nefarious purposes and look to escape, before too many dark secrets are revealed.
As I mentioned in the beginning I’ve not seen either movie, but I was really hoping that the work would stand on its own…and it just doesn’t quite measure up to that for me. You don’t have to have seen the movies to read the issue, but it just feels like I’m missing a lot of the story by not having seen them. For example, with the army post set up in the fourth section, where did that come from and how did people get there? There’s just no information about it at all and just suddenly appears. I’m used to filling in gaps, but that’s a pretty big one. And why the heck did a scientist call an animal liberation front to release a monkey that was infected with a rage virus? What kind of sense does that make? And when he woke up how did he even know what the heck was going on? I know it’s a fantasy work, but this one left my head straining. Even worse for me is that I just don’t feel like we got to really know the characters at all, which makes it hard to feel for them as I read the story. I just would have liked to see a little bit less blood, gore, and zombie killing and more information about the characters.
The artwork for this issue just felt really convoluted to me. For something that was put together as a single issue it just didn’t have enough consistency in the style. It alternated between art like an actual comic and having images based upon photographs, almost like movie stills, with colors applied to them. I think what jars me the most is the fact that the styles are so different from one section to the next which takes away from the story because you have to keep trying to figure out references for who the characters are from section to section as they don’t always look alike. I think it would have worked better for the story line if one style had been chosen versus three. Treating each issue as a separate style though, the artwork is quite really quite nice with loads of details for people to latch onto and discover more about the surroundings of the characters. Taken as a whole though its like trying to watch one film that had three different directors, all with their own unique style.
It seems more like they were trying to capitalize on the movie, versus making a good comic which is disappointing to me. If you’re a fan of the movie or its sequel and want to know more about what caused the events then this book is for you. Otherwise, I can’t really recommend it because although it sort of stands on its own, you really need the movies to bookend it. If you’re looking for a good zombie comic I’d recommend reading “Rotten” or “The Living Dead” series instead.