Community Nooch's Comic Reviews

Zombies, Robots, Vampire Drugs

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Choker #1
by Ben McCool and Ben Templesmith
Published by Image Comics

I may be biased on this, but this book blew me away. Yes, I'm a huge fan of Ben Templesmith. He and I used to work together, and he is terribly pleasant. He has such a huge appreciation and massive respect for his fans. I am trying, however, to judge this book based solely on its own merit, and by that standard alone am I declaring that you should run out and pick up this book immediately. It's set in a non-specific but not-too-distant future. I really get a Blade Runner vibe as I flip through the pages. Like much of Templesmith's work, there's a lot irreverent humor hiding in his backgrounds. Some of that may be from Ben McCool, whom I actually have never met, but would not be surprised if he was just as delightful to hang with. From his little intro letter at the back of this issue, it turns out he's from across the pond. If history tells us anything, he should be completely insane (see Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Alan Moore, Garth Ennis).

In terms of story, we get a guy, Johnny Jackson, who apparently used to be a cop now working as private dick, pun intended, as he is very much an unpleasant person (quite the opposite of Templesmith). He gets a call from his former boss, telling him he can be reinstated if he catches a scumbag who escaped from custody. The same such scumbag he apprehended previously. In the midst of all this, there's a new drug introduced that allows you to become a vampire for a few hours. A little off the wall? Sure. I'd expect nothing less from the buy who introduced me to the world of Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse.

As a bonus in this issue, you do get a few pages of how Templesmith developed a cover for the series. It starts from his pencils, to inks, then his digital portion. I won't get into all that here, though, as the technical stuff starts getting beyond me. Useful for any aspiring artist, for sure.

Who should read this book:
People who liked Blade Runner.
People who are like detective stories.
People who regularly wrestle elephants.

ZVR Aventure #1
by Chris Ryall, Ashley Wood, Menton Matthews, Paul McCaffrey, and Gabriel Hernandez
Published by IDW Publishing

In 2006, Zombies vs. Robots, by Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood, exploded onto the indy comics scene with a 2-issue series. In 2007, they followed up with Zombies vs. Robots vs. Amazons. This latest entry is their follow-up, which builds up that post-robotic-apocalypse/post-robotic/apocalypse world. Now, if you visit this site with any sort of regularity, I would expect you to get behind this book on based on those titles alone. They pretty much tell you everything you need to know. There are zombies. There are robots. The zombies fight the robots. Oh, you're not satisfied, yet? Well, here's some amazons, complete with a minataur. Wait, is that minataur zombified? You bet he is.

Those first two series weren't trying to be anything more than they were, just a fun romp with pretty pictures. Some of you may be familiar with Ashley Wood (he's a dude, not a chick, as often assumed from his name) from his work on some Spawn stuff bask in the day. He's got a really cool pseudo-abtract painting style. He's got a series out there called Popbot, where he came up with some awesome robot designs that incorporate biological apparatuses (apparati?).

ZVR Aventure builds on the original story, telling of how the zombies and robots started taking over the world. From what I can tell, Wood takes a backseat for this project, providing only covers and design work. Full writing credits are given to Ryall, but I wouldn't be surprised if Wood had a lot of creative input. They got Menton Matthews III, Paul McCaffrey, and Gabriel Hernandez for the interior art, each working on one of the three stories they have per issue. The first, by Matthews, is the story of the elite squad that the humans put together to try to fight off the zombies. The story illustrated by McCaffrey is about a janitor who discovers the secret lab where sophistaced robots are being designed. The third story, art by Gabriel Hernandez, is what I think is the most disturbing, about a voodoo guy who tries to make his own zombies to combat the others. Each piece of the anthology feels like a different piece of the same puzzle. They're all different in tone and presentation, but still feel connected. That's a hard thing to do correctly, and Ryall manages to keep it all together here.

Overall, don't expect this to change your worldview or anything. Just take the entire project for what it is - Zombies fighting robots. If I'm not mistaken, you can get teh original ZVR and ZVRVA all in one hardcover collection. If so, get that. Then start in on this series.

Who should read this book:
People who like old-school Sci-Fi movies.
People who like new-school zombie movies.
People who consult their action figures for parenting advice.

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Nooch's Comic Reviews

More people should be reading comic books, dammit. As the resident comic book elitist, Nooch has made it his personal quest to get more noobs heading into their own dimly-lit comics dungeon every Wednesday to peruse the vastly under-rated world of sequential art.

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