Xombie: Reanimated #3
Writer: James Farr
Artist: Nate Lovett
Letterer: Brian J. Crowley
Devil’s Due Publishing
Cover price: $3.50; On-sale date: 7-11-07
It is the year 2052. Humanity has been reduced to a small huddling mass hiding in enclaves with machines that disguise their scent. One of these survivors is Zoe, a girl once thought lost who returns to her camp with a most unlikely protector — a sentient zombie named Dirge.
When last we left Zoe and Dirge, they were on their way to investigate why the train system, a vital tool to the survival of the humans, had stopped operating. Zoe’s scent-disguising machine had just stopped working, which drove Dirge to nearly attack her. In the nick of time, he is able to use a can of spray to bring him to his senses. But Zoe’s scent is still in the air, and the duo have just stopped in quite an inconvenient location — a zoo! The reanimated corpses of the zoo’s inhabitants, from monkeys to tigers to elephants, come rushing for Zoe. With the pedal to the metal, Dirge is able to outrun the animals long enough to get to the train. As the pair frantically try to figure out how to reboot the system, and the train car they are in becomes overrun by the animals, they are unaware that a lone zombie cowboy watching from the distance, waiting for his chance to make himself known. Meanwhile, back at the settlement, a shaky back up plan begins to form in case Zoe and Dirge don’t make it back in time…
With The Walking Dead firmly taking the crown as a comic book version of a neverending George Romero film, Xombie: Reanimated creator James Farr fills in the Saturday morning cartoon void for zombie enthusiasts. Originally an animated Web series that’s made the leap to comic book form, Farr’s creation is a “nearly” all-ages adventure that can be enjoyed by the younger set as well as seasoned zombie veterans. The cartoon sensibilities of the series’ origin carry over well to panel form, and looks like something you’d see on Nickelodeon for half a season if the producers didn’t quite know what they were getting themselves into, or happily co-existing on the Cartoon Network next to The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy.
Farr is unafraid to muck around with zombie mythos, with the creation of a sentient zombie that talks in a world of walking corpses. It is perhaps an evolution of the beloved Bub from Day Of The Dead? And with the introduction of a horde of rampaging zombie animals, Farr lets us know that in his world whatever dies will come back to life, perhaps giving a nod to the classic Return Of The Living Dead. Farr is obviously a geek to the core, and his energetic injection of cartoon pacing to a genre that has been getting a makeover in multiple media formats over that past decade is a welcome addition for those that cannot get enough of the undead.
To bring his creation to life on the page, Farr brings in artist Nate Lovett, who takes care of all the visuals from pencil and ink to colors. Lovett’s artwork reflects Farr’s Saturday morning cartoon love, and many of his panels look like stills from an animated series. The art is crisp and simple, and easy to digest before quickly jumping to the next panel to see what’s next. His colors, in which he pulls mainly from grays, purples, and greens, reflect the goth-tinged animated series that pop up on network television from time to time. His decision to make the comic almost bloodless, even as undead animals are torn asunder by Dirge, again help to keep that “almostâ€ all-ages atmosphere that Farr is going for.
Xombie: Reanimated makes its home next to the other cutesy horror titles such as Hack/Slash and the Chucky comic book series at Devil’s Due Publishing, and fits in just fine with its fellow brethren. Even if you have not read Issue 1 or 2, don’t be afraid to take the plunge here with Issue 3, as Farr gives a text brief of what the basic story is and what has happened so far (think of it as the comic book version of a cartoon’s theme opening where all the characters are introduced and a “previously on…â€ montage to get you up to speed). And just like a cartoon, as soon as you get caught up in what is happening, the story ends with a cliffhanger that’ll get you to “tune inâ€ next time. But the comic won’t be enough. You’ll want your mom to buy you the Xombie: Reanimated cereal with Dirge marshmallows. You’ll want the Xombie: Reanimated bed sheets. You’ll want the stuffed animal of the undead dog Cerberus. 2007 is not the year of the zombie. It is the Year Of The Xombie!