Friday, 25 May 2012

iZombie: Dead to the World

Lowdown: A young woman/zombie trying to find her place in the world.
Review:
Gwen Dylan is not your average firm breasted and perky nippled comic hot chick. Gwen is a zombie! She passes for human in an otherwise normal world, but she still needs to feed on brains about once a month or she goes mental. Lucky for her, she works as a gravedigger, so food is just around the corner. She’s also lucky to have friends: a ghost of a girlfriend as well as a wereterrier. Still, her life, so to speak, is full of challenges.
Those brains she eats? She inherits their memories, which can be a bit tricky to digest when one consumes the brains of a murder victim. Then there are the people of the world, normal people like us, who live their lives unaware of the existence of creatures like Gwen in their midst. Nor are they aware of the killer vampires that roam between them. But Gwen has to deal with them all, mummies and zombie hunting crusaders included. In between trying to lead a normal life!
iZombie: Dead to the World is the first trade paperback in a series that, by now, includes three paperbacks with a fourth to come late this year. Unlike the recently reviewed Mass Effect comics (see here and here), iZombie has to explain its world settings to the reader first; it does so eloquently, creating a detailed world with interesting round characters I grew to care for. There’s tension, there’s some great graphics with its own unique style, and there’s a plot that left me asking for more.
That final point is the problem: Dead to the World leaves its reader hanging in the middle with no ending worth talking about. Indeed, there are even subplot and characters that don’t link to the main event yet; it feels like Magnolia would feel if you stopped watching just before the various stories start combining. Sure, this sent me to order the sequel right away, yet I could not avoid feeling things could have been better dealt with in what would have otherwise been the best comic I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
Am I angry? Yes, but… But not as angry as I was upon realizing the book I was reading did not have an ending (as was the case here and here). First, when one reads comics one has to remember that having no proper ending goes with the format’s turf; they want to sell you the next in the series. Second, comics reading does not require half the commitment a full blown modern [read: long] book takes.
Overall: A cool story of a zombie that’s the most human like of all the real people around her, but a conclusion-less story at that. 4 out of 5 stars.

21/5/2015 update:
Having now read the whole of iZombie (four books), I can now say with confidence this is great comics. It starts off with a brilliant idea, and although feels like it's not going anywhere in the middle ends up with a bang - a great ending to an excellent, well developed, comic.
Highly recommended; my previous rating still stands.

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