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Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Teen Angst Reviews
Zombie Tales: Death Valley #1, by Andrew Cosby, Johanna Stokes and Rhoald Marcellus marks a departure from the previous books in the series, in that it focuses on a single extended narrative, while retaining much of the lighter tone that has typified many of the stories. The story itself if pretty standard for the zombie genre: last group of survivors against a ravenous horde of the undead. They even make a stand in a mall. But it's the characters are what makes this stand out from the pack. It's a bit like The Breakfast Club. Only with zombies. You've got your standard teen-movie token characters. Running from zombies. It's a cute conceit, and it moves along at a brisk pace. Rhoald Marcellus' art has a jaunty, angular cartoon look that complements the story well. He even manages to make the zombies look uncannily cute.
Demo, by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan, was one of my favorite comics from last year. And judging by the great sales success we had with it, I'd say it's a safe bet that lots of other people responded really well to it as well. Looking over the material in a complete edition it's easy to see just how strong a work it is. Wood and Cloonan excel here at capturing the insecurities and anxieties of adolescence, and the book is filled with quiet yet profound epiphanies for many of the characters. There are times, perhaps, when Wood puts too fine a point on the message he's trying to come home, and occasionally the more fantastic story elements take on an air of absurdity, but the work as a whole stands up and more often than not Wood and Cloonan manage to be extremely affected with remarkable subtlety and understatement.