Reviewer: Emma Coverdale
Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Michael Allred
Genre: Graphic Novel
MSRP: $14.99 U.S.
Release Date: March 16, 2011
I have to admit that I’ve been totally into the zombie theme since The Walking Dead first found its way in comic book stores so as a result I had found myself looking forward to the iZombie series from the very beginning since it’s definitely a fascinating and unique kind of zombie story. For those who missed it the first time around, iZombie: Dead to the World covers the first five issues and makes this the perfect opportunity to meet an interesting cast of supernatural characters.
Dead to the World introduces us to Gwen Dylan, a beautiful pale young woman who paints and has a list of things she hates that’s much longer than the list of things she likes as well as possesses a witty charm. When we first see her, she’s out trick-or-treating as Shaun from the movie “Shaun of the Dead” along with her two best friends. Sure, she didn’t want to go but stopping by a strange house she finds that the man wrapped in bandages is quick to get them out of his front door.
Oh but that’s not the only strange thing going on here because Gwen and her friends are not exactly normal either. You see, her best buddy, Spot, changes during the full moon into a – ahem – Were-Terrier. Then there’s Elle, a beautiful blonde whose outfits cry 1960s … which might very well be the era when she died. Elle, you see, is a ghost. Then there’s Gwen who isn’t exactly alive either because she happens to be one of the walking dead. Sure, she’s not one of those foot-dragging, drooling creatures but if she doesn’t eat a human brain once a month she will turn into one of those decomposing and incoherent freaks.
Therefore, it makes perfect sense that Gwen works with a grave digging crew in the local cemetery in Oregon. It gives her the perfect opportunity to dig up the deceased and devour their brains (which she says tastes even more horrible than we can imagine) but with each meal comes not only flashback memories of the deceased but also their voices that cry out for her to carry out their unfinished business.
When she ends up snacking on the brain of a dead family man she just recently helped bury, his memories point to murder and the dead guy wants vengeance. Along with Spot and Elle, Gwen starts looking into the mystery that points to a mystery redhead that isn’t the dead man’s wife. Meanwhile, another supernatural element is afoot in Eugene and that is a group of hot vampire women who are feeding off lonely men (in a non-lethal manner) and making a profit while they’re at it. Unfortunately, one of them is going off the reservation an killing her prey and the group’s leader is super pissed off.
Then there’s the hot Horatio and his partner, Diogenes, are a part of an ancient order calling themselves the Corporation that specializes in hunting monsters of all kinds and now they are here to wipe out these vampires. While Diogenes is all-business and the veteran monster hunter, Horatio is no slouch either although he’s not quite by-the-book. Nursing a broken heart, Horatio runs into Gwen who is immediately smitten by the guy as well.
In the meantime, Gwen and her friends continue to unravel the mystery of her dead meal’s memories. Said memories lead them to the same house they stopped by during Halloween with the man in bandages. Elle, being a ghost, enters the house but doesn’t come back. When Gwen comes in to find her friend, she encounters the man who turns out to be a mummy who also knows exactly what they of zombie Gwen is as he shows her via his power.
I won’t spoil things by saying more since the final chapter of this graphic novel reveals a lot but I will say that it also touches on the Gwen-Horatio relationship that develops early. Just as things seem to go smoothly for our girl, she finds out Horatio works for the Corporation and with her being a monster the relationship will surely get complicated.
Chris Roberson is an excellent writer and handles the dialogue perfectly but one of my original complaints about the series still sticks. The first five issues of this series served more like setup for the events to come as well as introduction to the cast of colorful characters. I love the fact that spot isn’t a werewolf and I love that Elle’s attention span as well as her ignorance of modern things makes her actually believable. Best yet, however, is Gwen who is one of my favorite female lead characters in a comic book so far.
There’s also Michael Allred’s art, which has always been amazing and even more so when implemented just right. Allred’s art finds a good home here in iZombie as the characters and backgrounds look spectacular so the visuals are quite impressive.
What we have in iZombie: Dead to the World is a worthwhile graphic novel that serves as the perfect starting point for anyone looking for a unique comic book series with a tongue-in-cheek supernatural twist. Filled with great characters, fun story and amazing art, the iZombie series is a good read that we highly recommend. While this isn’t exactly the perfect beginning, give this one a shot and you will not be disappointed, I promise you that.
COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN
On the surface, Gwen is a modern girl with a scornful view of the world around her and who can blame her since she also happens to be a different kind of walking dead. Along with her friends, a cute behind-the-times ghost and a likeable Were-Terrier, Gwen finds herself in the middle of a mystery involving an Egyptian mummy, an ancient monster-hunting order and a coven of really bitchy vampire babes. Oh yeah, she also has to eat brains that leave a most unusual aftertaste.
You just have to love Michael Allred’s pop art work that makes everything he’s worked on look so interesting and even more so in iZombie. His characters are just so stunning that you will find yourself loving every panel in this book.
Serving more as an introduction to this entertaining series, iZombie: Dead to the World is the best starting point for those who always wanted to jump into the series. Sure, the first five issues this graphic novel covers takes a long while to get to the point but you’ll find yourself so involved with the characters that you might not mind it at all. Trust me when I say that iZombie is definitely worth a look.
Review copy provided by Vertigo (DC Comics)