Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dead West

Written by Rick Spears
Art by Rob G

I've looked forward to reading this graphic novel for quite some time, especially after reading the pair's Repo and Teenagers From Mars, both of which are frenetic and exciting comics. This came as more of a disappointment, I think, because of my level of expectation. I'm not saying it's a bad comic, just that the individual elements do not coalesce into a particularly good comic.

The set-up is a cool one. The survivor of an American massacre of an Aboriginal tribe brings his people back as zombies to attack the town that was built on their ancestral land in 'The Old West'. To my knowledge, this was the first Western zombie comic.

For zombie comics to work though, you have to care about the people that are trying to survive, and that's where this book falls down. My sympathy was more with the Aboriginals than any other character in the book. I felt that the survivor was the most developed character here. The others were either slapped together stereotypes (the likable whore, the town sheriff, the Clint Eastwood/Jonah Hex figure) or were complete ciphers (the military men, the guy being chased by Jonah Hexwood). It was very difficult to care about anything that was happening.

Also confusing matters was G's artwork. While some pages look fantastic, often the action is confusing, and it was hard to tell one character from another. The creative pair get marks for trying, but this whole book came off as kind of amateurish. I much preferred Teenagers From Mars.

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