Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dead Ahead #2

Written by Clark K. Castillo, Mel Smith, and Paul H. Birch
Art by Alex Nino

I don't normally buy books just for their art - I need a good strong story to draw me in, and find myself following writers much more than artists from title to title. But occasionally, the main draw of a book for me is going to be the art, and that's the case with Dead Ahead.

The story has potential - it's about a group of people that are stuck at sea because the mainland has been overrun by zombies. It takes the claustrophobia of a movie like Alien, and adds all the excitement of a good zombie movie. The problem is that the writing (despite the pair of credited writers and the 'Additional Wordsmith' - whatever that means) is predictable and flat. Characters behave like archetypes, and the plot lacks surprise.

The art is the draw. Alex Nino is a horror comics master, setting pages up with unorthodox panel layouts and creepy looking zombie bits. There is a fluidity to his art that is hard to describe and to match. Some pages in this issue look rushed though - and at times the action is hard to follow. Other pages more than make up for any shortfall in their beauty though.

I'm also glad that they fixed the problem the first issue had with the text being written onto the artwork in such a way that it was sometimes hard to read - in this issue, the words are enclosed in small, form-fitting speech bubbles.

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