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March 23, 2011 / schulerbooks

Izombie – Dead to the World

Meet Gwen Dylan — gravedigger. She literaly gave up her previous life to take a job making holes and then filling them back up again. Her social life, possibly stunted by living at the graveyard she works at, consists of a flighty friend who hangs around her like a ghost and a computer nerd with an advanced case of skylothropy.
That and she has to eat a human brain once a month, or else she gets a really bad skin problem…
Yes, you read that right — Gwen is a zombie. She has been for some time, though she’s not really sure what happened to her, or why. But she has to dig up a corpse and eat a brain every month (which tastes worse than motor oil and vomit, she says) or else she’ll start decaying, again. And no one wants that.
But the cure for her arrested state of decay comes with a price. The meals she eat can TALK. They unwind pieces of their lost lives to her, and the only way she can silence their voices is to follow the fleeting but insistent clues and put them to rest. Help comes from the aforementioned mystery-loving ghost and were-terrier (stop laughing). Hindrance comes from some rather enterprising vampires and inept monster hunters (one of whom’s kind of cute).
And who knows what to expect from a creepy fellow in a nice mansion who seems to have watched too many Mummy movies? Friend? Foe? Or something else…
Now I know what you may be thinking: “oh no! Not another Comic book involving #$%^ zombies! Hasn’t this Walking Dead crap run its’ course, yet?”
Obviously not, but this is not yet another Zombie horror survival story. This has more in common with slightly-humorous urban fantasy romances than anything else — a world in which the supernatural creatures we have been told to fear and shun have lives, jobs, and ambitions beyond eating you.
Though that DOES happen, obviously — they got needs, too. And this is a great story about needs and wants, and the horrible and/or pathetic things we have to do in order to achieve them. Plus, it’s pretty funny, with tense action, snappy dialogue, and a sense that as weird and convoluted as things are at the start, they’re just going to get more so from here on out.
Writer Chris Roberson (Celestial Empire, Fables: Cinderella) adeptly makes these characters intriguing and perfectly flawed — dare I say, Human — and artist Michael Allred (Madman, XStatix) lends some of his best realistic-but-askew art to the package. If you like the show “Being Human,” or Milestone’s excellent “Xombi” series, shamble on in to our graphic novel section and get IZombie 1: Dead to the World — yet another great new title from DC’s Vertigo imprint.
(And while you’re checking out the Vertigo section, be sure to grab the new Scalped and DMZ, and keep an eye out for the third collection of Unwritten)
Jim Tremlett – Eastwood

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