Review - Key of Z #1

Zombies are totally in right now. With The Walking Dead shattering all sorts of viewership records with its season two premiere, it's clear that there's just something appealing about them. Perhaps what draws people to them most is the human element that usually accompanies the end of the world apocalypse.

It's the human element that makes Claudio Sanchez's Key of Z #1 so intriguing. The title is written by Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert and features art by Aaron Kuder, colors by Charlie Kirchoff, letters by Johnny Lowe and a smattering of covers by Nathan Fox, Tony Moore and Declan Shalvey.

The first few pages fast forward through the past events in the timeline to get the reader in the present. Something goes down on Christmas Eve 2011 in New York City, where zombies rise and begin their regularly scheduled annihilation of the human race. This is followed closely by Henry, the series' main protagonist, struggling to keep a small group of survivors together in Madison Square Garden.

Henry isn't the only one overseeing survivors. There are two rival gangleaders, cleverly named Yankee Lavoe and Jackson Met. The two "leaders" have made camp at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field respectively. The two men want the city to themselves in order to eke out something of a living in the new chaos. Enter Ewing.

Ewing will no doubt be the main protagonist to go up against Yankee and Jackson with the unlikely assistance of Eddie, a former cronie under Yankee sent out to do some recon work. The issue plays out mostly with Ewing guiding Eddie through the dangerous world that the zombies have wrought. The issue ends with a somewhat surprising reveal on Ewing's part and a tricky predicament.

Ewing's place is a little unclear at the moment. He'll most likely play a sort of foil to both Yankee and Met, while lending some humanity to the world in Key of Z. Yankee and Met are your pretty standard, stereotypical ganglords and will most likely go to great lengths to further worsen the situation.

The story by Sanchez and Echert is refreshing in a way. Yes, the zombie apocalypse is a little played out, but it's novel that Yankee and Met are rivals in NYC and even take up residence in their respective stadiums. The issue is even titled "Subway Seriez" and it's clear the two leaders will no doubt go to war in the already ravaged landscape.

The illustrations by Aaron Kuder are sort of bubble gum-y. That's a strange description, but the art is a mix of cartoon and realism. Ewing is illustrated well in a grizzled form, providing a great contrast to Yankee and Met. The pencils are brought to life boldly with the coloring by Charlie Kirchoff. Kirchoff has chosen to use a fairly dim palette for most of the issue, splashing in color where appropriate.

Key of Z #1 starts what could be an interesting series. The zombies seem more like a subplot to the overall story, as the main event will no doubt come down to a war among Yankee, Met and Ewing. The first issue will intrigue you, if for nothing else to see who wins. Every character seems to have a chance.

Check out the interiors below and the book in stores today.