Rebel Blood #1
Story by Alex Link, Riley Rossmo
Art & Cover by Riley Rossmo
Release Date: March 21, 2012
Cover price: $3.50
“Nobody’s sure what’s going on here. The only way to describe it is that something”¦ some infection”¦ Something like rabies is sweeping the city.” – Rebel Blood #1
While I’m not an exclusive horror reader, my reviews have so far suggested as much, and well, to hell with switching it up, here goes another with Image’s new series, Rebel Blood.
I was really intrigued by the solicit for Rebel Blood #1 which teased the book as being a world that’s “hell in a hand basket”: “A highly infectious disease has turned every living thing into zombies. Your neighbors will rend your flesh with their bare teeth. So will the rats. And if the rats don’t, the squirrels will. Save yourself. Stay in the woods. Pray it hasn’t reached the wolves…and keep your gun loaded.”
This premise had me more than intrigued as I am an avid reader of the comic series, Walking Dead and am definitely buying into the whole zombie craze that is sweeping popular culture like, well, a zombie virus. A new series about zombies was welcomed in my mind and the added touch of setting it in the woods, an always terrifying setting, was topical too (I just spent the weekend in a house in the woods – no, not the movie, though that too presents topicality). So I figured I had a winner here.
I’ve read through the issue three times and like the characters in the book itself, I’m “not sure what’s going on here.” Not unsure in a way that builds suspense and has you clamoring for the next issue, but more in a way that says, “this comic isn’t working.” The book uses fantasy scenes where Chuck, our protagonist, imagines different scenarios, but that was only clear later in the issue and was jarring and forced me to go back and re-read it all over again. At first they felt like a flashback, but once you realized they were just fantasies it made more sense. I think it was also a bit confusing because of the stylized nature of the pencils, which I wasn’t digging.
The art to me felt noisy and confusing. A lot of the big splash panels were wrought with sketch lines and made it difficult to focus on a center image. Additionally, the colors were toned down and made things pop out less and made for kind of a droll when reading. Combined with a less-than-exciting start to the story, this book ended up being something of a chore to read. I don’t really care about the protagonist and frankly, after three “what if” scenarios, when we don’t get to see what happens to his family till next time, I’m left feeling like I don’t really give a shit. Never a good start to a new series.
While I don’t think this debut issue has much to offer me personally, I don’t think my opinion should sway anyone from grabbing the book and deciding for themselves. Perhaps it’s just a bumpy start or maybe it’s just not my kind of series. There’s some fun images and scary monsters featured in the issue that are different than anything I’ve seen before, and I will readily admit to still being curious as to the cause of this plague. I’ll probably flip through the second issue, but creators Alex Link and Riley Rossmo are really going to have to pick up their game to entice me to actually sit down and read any further installments.
Check out Rebel Blood #1 on sale now and let me know if this book satisfied you more than it did me.