Zombie Tales #4 Review

One of BOOM’s newest titles, the aptly named Zombie Tales continues to shamble to success. Those crazy undead have regaled comics (and films, games, etc) for decades and can adapt into any genre with ease, such as plain out horror to comedy. They’re a resourceful bunch, those brain hungry walking corpses, with no shortage of manic adventures to share. This issue is the first from Wanted screenwriter Chris Morgan, and his brother Terry. Entitled Zaambi it’s divided into three parts, with a different artist for each. Set in a remote village, young Toshiro, wishing to become a man becomes more adept at zombie killing, proudly presenting a bag full of heads to his father to prove his worth. His father is displeased however at his lack of honour for the dead and his training continues, as it does with the other boys of Honchu village, whom must graduate from the harsh school of zombie killing. Toshiro and his rival, Kenji-Tango soon realise how serious the encroaching flood is.

Part 2 shows us the nineteen year old Toshiro who is now a weary zombie destroying machine; a man who hates the forever growing horde almost as much as he does the evils of his fellow man. The final part involves Toshiro as he follows advice from a Chinese captive, seeking to kill the zombie menace once and for all. As his crew travel the countryside, they come across the famous terracotta warriors of old, and must make a heart wrenching decision (literally) to see their goal come to pass.

One of the marks of a great writer is brevity. The Morgan brothers certainly have that. There are a bundle of great, blood soaked ideas in this stand-alone issue, but the story never comes across as overwhelming or convoluted. It’s tight scripting with descriptive narration, and an ending that I didn’t see coming, but one that works beautifully. The artists, namely Gabriel Hardman, Minck Oosterveer and Jason Ho have very similar styles. Having three artists in less than thirty pages is usually jarring, but BOOM! have chosen these three well. They all sketch in a rough fashion reminiscent of Joe Kubert or Lee Weeks, perfectly complimented by Cris Peter’s muted colours and Marshall Dillon’s subtle calligraphic lettering. I was gladly surprised by the effective crafting of this adventure. Zombies in an ancient eastern setting is a concept I haven’t seen before, and with its “I Am Legend” one man’s POV against the world vibe it’s a perfect fit.