Dead World: War of the Dead #2
Written by Gary Reed
Art by Sami Makkonen
Review by Joey Braccino
Here’s where that one-chapter-a-week release schedule works. Last week, I reviewed issue #1 of Gary Reed’s return to the Dead World canon, War of the Dead, and I said that there was just enough interest to make me want to stick around for issue #2. And here we are. If I had to wait a whole month for #2, I don’t know if we’d be having this one-sided conversation at all.
Reed and Co. continue the story threads from last issue: Mike the Leper leader prepares for battle against the hordes of the King Zombie, Dan (the gunslinger with the Zombie Sense) continues traveling the world, Donna (the half-zombie, half-lady sword-wielding refugee) questions the merits of the Safe Haven, and hilarity constantly ensues. While a lot of the threads aren’t addressed or resolved further (where’s Donna’s daughter?), Reed throws in a series of complications in this issue that will again keep me invested for at least another issue. The King Zombie’s motivations for inciting war with the Lepers at Safe Haven are terrifying and an interesting new perspective on the zombie trope. Any zombie story that talks about “Breeding Pits” is automatically asking bigger, Darwin-sized questions that transcend entrails and headshots. There are also Cannibals (not zombies) and humans who have sided with the King Zombie, which further complicates the entire War of the Dead thing.
Sami Makkonen’s artwork is just as moody, just as scratchy, just as terrifying, and just as abstract as it was in issue #1. Almost too moody and scratchy, though, and some panels sacrifice clarity and storytelling for shadowy ambience. Makkonen’s artwork will be divisive for readers of this series, but I’m a fan of stuff that looks different, especially when said stuff is the perfect visual metaphor for the ambiance of the story. It serves Reed’s script well, and though it stumbles a bit this week, Makkonen’s art is still on of the biggest selling points on this book.
Though a bit weaker than #1, Dead World: War of the Dead #2 is a set-up chapter in what will ultimately prove to be a solid month-long mini-series about zombies, lepers, and dystopia. IDW made a smart choice when they decided to publish this book weekly, because it’s a lot easier to forgive the book its pacing and hiccups when the next chapter comes out in a week rather than a month. I’ll tune in for issue #3, if only because we’re almost at the end already, and I want to see some explosions and zombie fights!