Dead Ringers

iZombie #1

This is the first issue of the new series by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, and it’s available for just a buck, which means you should go pick it up, ’cause nowadays, that’s dirt cheap.

Not a whole lot of plot in this first issue — just introducing our cast of characters. Our lead is Gwen Dylan, a gravedigger with a secret — she’s dead as a doornail. Luckily, as long as she eats one fresh brain a month, she won’t go all “Night of the Living Dead” on anyone. But for a week after she eats that one brain, she’s going to have the deceased person’s memories, and she’s going to try to take care of their unfinished business. Her friends include a ’60s-era ghost named Ellie and a wereterrier named Spot, and other supernatural types in the area include a bunch of vampire babes who run a paintball course and a couple of monster hunters.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice art, decent dialogue, nice setup for the characters, and again, it’s just a dollar! Go get it already!

Brightest Day #1

A white power battery has appeared, and no one seems to be able to lift it. Deadman finds himself on board a ship smuggling children and is unable to help, but Aquaman and Mera appear and save the kids — with the aid of some unexpected zombie sea creatures. Meanwhile, the villain formerly known as Black Manta is working out of a seaside fish shop — when he hears that Aquaman has returned to life, he kills all his customers and gets his armor out of storage. Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch are unable to separate from the Firestorm matrix, and the Martian Manhunter, trying to terraform Mars, has a vision of himself murdering Professor Erdel, the Earth scientist who accidentally brought him to Earth. And Hawkman and Hawkgirl pursue a bunch of criminals who have stolen the bones of Prince Khufu and Princess Chay-Ara — the original versions of the Hawks from Ancient Egypt.

Verdict: Thumbs down. We get a lot of different stories, all just barely addressed before we rush off to some other barely-addressed story. It’s a rotten way to tell a story — it’s only a way to stretch out a crossover. And there are worse problems than that. In the zero issue, Aquaman was afraid to go in the water — now he’s swimming around just fine. We also get calls-back to the “Blackest Night” crossover, with Aquaman’s zombie sea minions and the partial reappearance of Martian Manhunter’s Black Lantern costume when he has his vision of Professor Erdel. And quite honestly, as much fun as “Blackest Night” was, it’s not a good sign when your first crossover afterwards is already running back to that well again.

And on top of that, the implied promise of “Brightest Day” — a more hopeful, more “Silver Age,” less mindlessly murderous future for DC’s comics — has already been completely abandoned. A zombie shark gorily dismembers someone, a blood-drenched Black Manta slaughters three people at more-or-less random, and we get treated to detailed closeups of some commandos getting shot in the back of the head. Sure, I expected DC to go back to lazy massacres soon, but I never imagined it’d happen so quickly. I thought for sure Geoff Johns could go at least a few issues before splattering some guy’s blood across the page.

I’m giving this one just one more chance. I don’t have infinite patience for crossovers any more.

No Comments

  1. swampy Said,

    May 10, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

    iZombie was quite cool…I love Allred’s art