Writer: Kyle Starks / Artist: GABO / OniPress Comics
I read the first issue of Dead of Winter and rated it pretty high because it was a comic that touched upon several of my faves, like dogs and zombies, sprinkled with lots of comedy. The first issue also accomplished something that I didn’t want to spoil at the end of my first review that I figured was likely: the dog lived past the first issue. Yes, Sparky lived despite being knocked unconscious by a thrown explosive and he’s here to keep saving the day. Even with an unhinged and very possibly plastered Santa Claus walking about.
What really works this issue on Sparky’s end is the writing that uses flashbacks of his earlier life before the zombies to parallel his motivations and actions during events popping off now. He’s very protective of people but why is an question that gets some light in this issue. And we get a better picture of the group that our survivor belongs to and what possibly happens to folks that don’t belong to their group anymore. (Hint: They don’t like milk and cookies.) As it is with zombie stories, it’s usually a study of the deteriorating of the human psyche and a lot of what we’ve socially constructed (civilization, laws, rules). The majority of our survivors meet another strange character who isn’t a member of the undead yet he isn’t completely…all the way present. He’s a man who is stuck in the role that he had in the time before zombies and it’s funny, fascinating, and terrifying to see out folks attempt to get out and away from this fellow.
On the art side, this later part of the book really shines with the great escape and the sequences of the characters pushing themselves to get out. Color wise, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Accept now that the overall color scheme is bleak and dull with spots of color that stand out (like Sparky’s cape) and brilliant panels for the action (like an fire that helps disguise the escape). It’s a zombie apocalypse y’all, not an HDTV home renovation show. *Clears up DVR* I love Tahitian Blue, Ripe Plum, and all manner of shades of pinks but let’s realistic on what we should see in a comic titled Dead of Winter. Fuck, I hate Winter. There’s your reminder that California is still in Summer mode. A lot of well-timed jokes and some emotionally tugging here and there help make this a comic I’d recommend folks pick up. We’re still getting a feel for who our survivors are while navigating this new world and the dangers they face — good stuff this issue.
See BNP’s other reviews of Dead Winter here.