Zombie Outlaw #1 Review : by Guerrilla Geek
In this current age of the widespread proliferation of supernatural characters in the various media, one can be forgiven for being wary of more such titles coming on the scene. With many tales of the supernatural verging on the cliché, it takes something a bit more special to stand out from the horde. One of the more palatable ways that a writer tries to break the mould is go for a humorous parody of the genre (e.g. Shaun of the Dead). Writer Brian J. Apodaca and artist B. Paul Jordan have chosen this approach for their new indie title,Zombie Outlaw (self-released through ComiXpress), and it’s quite a fun little read.
Like any good zombie story, Zombie Outlaw appears to be a tale of the average joe who meets a situation beyond his ken, and tries to survive while winning the girl. The main character of the first issue, Matt Naismith, is a college sophomore at the fictional Irvine State University. With the help of his friend and Resident Advisor, Will Simers, Matt hopes to win the heart of the fair K.T. Delaney. Unfortunately for Matt, Will needs a little help with his graduate thesis and enlists Matt to help him find an artefact belonging to the Zombie Outlaw, an ancient undead cowboy who acted as the saviour of old Irvine. This results in Will being cursed as the new Zombie Outlaw and transforming into a terrible creature, who then goes on the rampage.
Apodaca has a good voice. The story is lighthearted and full of levity, and the narrative flows smoothly. Zombie Outlaw #1 initially reads like a typical college buddy comedy, but as it segues into the horror part, it manages to retain the light comedy value of the preceding story. Apodaca is quite talented at taking the parts of the traditional zombie horror that have become passé and building on the self-parodising elements to create his story.
The cartoonish art from Jordan is brilliantly well-suited to the story. The characters’ bodies are heavily caricaturised with skinny torsos and over-developed forearms, ending in giant four-fingered hands. The female characters have pneumatic busts and waspish waists, but are so cartoonish, they fit well into the parody without being offensive. A personal favourite has to be the monster art which harks back to the Odd Rods bubble-gum cards and the subsequent monster hot rod designs in the same tradition.
From Zombie Outlaw #1, it’s a bit hard to tell where the story’s eventually going to go. At face value, it looks like a standard zombie outbreak take (which is supported in part by the design of the official website), but it also feels as if the Zombie Outlaw will be the hero that will end up saving the town from the outbreak. It’ll be interesting to see how soon the Outlaw will gain control of himself (or even if he will), and what carnage he will cause in the meantime. It looks like the supporting characters will have fun roles to play as well,
Zombie Outlaw is definitely a title that’s piqued my interest, and I want to see where the story goes from here. It’s good to see a zombie story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is a refreshing step away from the generic supernatural dross in our media.