G.I. Zombie #1-2 (Comics Review)

War stories and DC Comics haven’t mixed so well in the New 52. Back in 2011, the publisher launched Men of War and G.I. Combat as part of the new line-up but the books were cancelled in short order. The reasons are many of course, and not necessarily just that the titles plain didn’t sell well on the shelves. But then that’s the thing, and has become part of the larger problem of the entire New 52 launch. Still, war stories and comics, they mix together fairly well I think and numerous attempts have been made over the years to bring to them a mass-appeal.

Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, two of the best writers in the business, launched Star Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie last month with a new #1, and I’d say that they are off to a great start. The title mixes in a zombie soldier with a D.O.D agent, sent on a mission to track down a bunch of gunrunners. The first issue starts off right in the middle of the story, with the big twist halfway through being excellent (never read something with G.I. Zombie before), and the story continues on in the second issue to be a whole lot of fun. Writing is far better than I’d thought it would be, and the (painted-ish) art by Scott Hampton is also impressive.

G.I.Zombie 0102There are two protagonists in this series. The first is Jared Kabe, a former American soldier who got turned into a zombie at some point, possibly more than a century ago, and now works as a special agent for the FBI/Department of Defense. The other is Carmen King (or Tiffany?) who is an actual living-breathing federal agent who is partnered up with Jared to hunt down some gunrunners within America. The first issue establishes exactly why having Jared along is a boon for Carmen, and both Justin and Jimmy really play up that card for all it is worth, and they do it in great style too.

I’ve never read anything with this particular character, who is seemingly also referred to as the Unknown Soldier in some articles I’ve read, so I went in to this title with zero knowledge, knowing only that Jimmy and Justin were writing this. I’ve liked their work before, so I was open to reading more, and they certainly did not disappoint. Horror plus war plus national espionage plus zombies. Good mix I’d say.

And really, the writers also make a definitive effort to contrast Carmen and Jared against each other, whether we talk about their backgrounds or their modus operandi or even just their feelings for each other. These moments, in both issues, really drive home who these characters are and what their motivations are. It helps to flesh them out as characters. Jared’s somewhat relaxed attitude is pretty fun when contrasted with Carmen’s apprehensions about being paired up with a zombie, something that keeps freaking her out.

And then, there’s all the action. The first issue starts off with some really tense moments, and that theme continues all through both issues, right up until the end of the second issue. At each turn the two writers continued to surprise me, and I was just along for the ride really. The action scenes, whether the up-close-and-personal ones or the big ones such as the one pictured on the cover of the second issue, are all straight excellent. I mean, a zombie leaping from a helicopter on top of a missile while it is in flight? How often does that happen in comics?

What this title is, is that it is all-out fun and mayhem. And that’s perfectly fine with me!

Scott Hampton is the penciller and colourist for this series, with Rob Leigh on letters and Darwyn Cooke on the covers. The covers, as I’ve said, are both amazing. They really get across the feeling of the comic and they complement Scott’s internal art really well. There is a painted quality to the artwork, largely because of the colours I’d say, and I liked that. It is very, very different from the DC house style you see on the majority of their books, and that in itself is pretty amazing. And that’s all that really needs be said about either issue because really, I think Scott Hamption has skyrocketed to the top of my favourite artists list. His loose style is kind of similar to Phil Noto’s on Black Widow, and…yeah, I love it.

Damn good stuff yet again from Jimmy and Justin. I eagerly look forward to the next issue!

Rating: 9.5/10


Posted on August 30, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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