Review Date: October 26, 2009
Released by: Boom Studios!
Release date: 2009-Ongoing
If you haven't noticed a pattern with all of my comic and novel reviews to date, let me fill you in: they all have to do with the collapse of society and/or the end of the world. I love the concept, at least in a fictional sense, and think it's one that offer limitless opportunities that can certainly be explored on film, but are best explored on paper where the ending can be as far away as a writer chooses. With that being said, it was a bit of a surprise to me when I was looking at the new release rack at my local comic store a few months back and I put 28 Days Later
Issue #1 back on the shelf after giving it only a brief glance. I've never been crazy about the idea of moving a character from the big screen down to comic book form, which probably explains why I've skipped by the countless Army of Darkness
comics. When I discovered that Selena, a central character from the first film, was the main character in the comic, I became a bit turned off to the idea of the 28 Days Later
So why the review?
When I went to the Baltimore comic convention a few weeks back, I met Michael Nelson, the man writing the comic. I had a brief conversation with him and he explained to me how the book takes place between the first and second movies. His plan is to write four issue arcs and that he hopes to continue writing it for the forseeable future, sales permitting. He had great enthusiasm about the book and since he agreed to sign some copies for my son and I, I couldn't resist picking up a few.
I hesitate to write a review after only reading three issues of the series, yet that's all that's been released and since I'm a big fan of the movies, I feel like I'm qualified to give my opinions on the book, good or bad. Lets take a look at the 28 Days Later
Selena is at a refugee camp in Norway. She is approached by an American reporter, Clint Harris, and asked if she will guide him into the quarantine zone. His hope is to start reporting some real news now that rumors are spreading of a U.S. led Nato force making preparations to repatriate London. Selena is quick to give him his walking papers, but Clint insists he's more than capable of the assignment. After all, he's been a war correspondent his entire adult life. He leaves and after some further thought, Selena packs up and jumps aboard just as Clint's chopper is about to lift off. Selena is given a quick introduction to the crew, including hired guns, and it's off to Scotland they go, where Clint intends to slip past the weakened quarantine and then make their way into London. Complications arise when American choppers begin firing at them and they are forced to land at a nearby island. It is there that they discover why they were being shot at - the infection has spread past the quarantine and the island is full of the infected.
Selena and crew manage to escape some nearby infected and are able to retreat to a nearby house. Most of the guns laugh off the brush with death, with only Selena herself taking matters seriously. It's not until Hirsch, the group's field medic, gets infected and promptly sliced and diced by Selena, does the group realize just how serious things are. There's much resentment towards Selena for killing Hirsch and things become escalated when Trina, another in the group, claims Selena herself is infected as a way of revenge. Her plans fails, of course, and the group barely manages to escape the island after a rendezvous with a nearby boat. Things are starting to turn around after the group clears the quarantine, until they find themselves face to face with an American battleship.
The concept of the Rage virus is one I've really enjoyed. Does it really matter that the zombies here aren't really zombies? If anything, these zombies are a bit more believable since they are living and breathing. Call them rabid humans or call them zombies; it doesn't really matter. The end result is the same - they want to tear humans piece to piece in a gruesome manner of some sort. I'm a big fan of the 28
movies but as I said in the opening of the review, I was a bit reluctant to give this comic a whirl. Besides the aforementioned concerns with the transition of characters from big screen to comic book page, the $3.99 price tag doesn't help much either. I'll date myself here and happily state that I remember the days when comic books were $.75 a pop. I'll also admit the paper and art was typically much cheaper back than, and that I'll gladly pay for some quality work. I was a bit disappointed to find that as I was reading through the books again for this review, pages of issue #2 had come undone and were loose inside the book. That's disappointing given the price.
Price aside, how's the book? It's hard to give a concrete answer after only three issues, but I'm happy to report I'm enjoying it thus far. I actually watched the first movie again before writing this review as I didn't remember Selena being so bad ass, yet sure enough she was. There are lingering questions about what happened to Jim (and I'm curious to find out what happened to Hannah as well) and the comic does touch upon these, though nothing solid is given. I hope to find out more in the future and I do plan to continue reading for the time being. While I can accept bringing the character of Selena back, I think the book would have been better off with a fresh batch of new characters. I can see the appeal of bringing back Selena in an effort to bring in readers, yet I can't help but wonder on the plausibility of it all. After everything that happened to her in the movie, would she really leave a refugee camp to go back into a quarantine zone? It seems unlikely to me and I hope there's some effort in the writing to explain her reasons for doing so.
It's easy to create dozens of stories with the concept in 28 Days Later
, yet it's just as easy to go in a tiresome, mundane circle and quickly lose the reader's attention. So far I'm hooked with quality writing on the part of Michael Nelson. The grittiness and, at times, unrelenting violence in the movie is present in these pages, so I'm cautiously optimistic about its future.
The comic is drawn by Declan Shalvey, colored by Nick Filardi, and lettered by Ed Dukeshire. The art is of high quality with a gritty, rough feel to it that compliments the tone of 28 Days
nicely. It's in color though they are subdued, giving a hazy look to the world that again compliments the book nicely.
It's important to note that this review is only based off the first three issues of the comic. Having said that: so far so good. If you're a fan of the movies I think you'll enjoy what this book has to offer. If they can continue the quality writing and keep the fresh ideas flowing, there's limitless potential for the book and the characters. I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store for the future of the book. Recommended.
Story - B+
Image Quality - B+
Technical Info.Other Pictures