Review - The Disease

"Feel like I've been hit by a truck. Didn't think I drunk that much last night."

The rules of the apocalypse are simple: stay alive and survive. You could argue they're essentially one and the same in essence, but that doesn't make them any less important. In The Disease, one man is forced to contend with a destroyed world, ravenous zombies and an isolated mentality. The one-shot is written by James Mulholland, illustrated by Daniel Romero and lettered by Micah Myers.

An elder man named Gerry wakes up in the attic of his Irish countryside house. But when his family isn’t around, he wanders outside his house into an Irish town, where the unknown is awaiting him. The world has fallen apart and he knows nothing about it, save that it's coming for him next.

The Disease starts off rather formulaic for a disaster, post-apocalyptic tale. Mulholland puts Gerry through the expected paces; lack of knowledge surrounding the new world, seeking out other humans and reconciling the notion that all he knew and loved is gone. Where The Disease deviates from the norm is the reveal about Gerry himself. Gerry is going through his own problems that make dealing with the apocalypse that much more difficult and--quite frankly--Mulholland's approach here is quite brilliant. He manages to make the book work exceedingly well, but handicapping Gerry in a way that forces him to constant readjust how he approaches survival.

Taking a cue from The Walking Dead visually as well, The Disease relies solely on black and white illustrations to convey the new world. Romero's style is somewhat haphazard at times, as he moves between clean, close-up shots of characters rife with detail to more distant shots that are slightly more vague. As with many black and white books, there are a few panels where it's a little hard to discern what's going on, primarily owing to characters in close proximity appearing to meld together because of the blacks and white appearance. The gutters are mostly kept empty, save for a few pages where Romero fills them in with black.

The Disease starts off very familiar, but it quickly goes in a rather unique and refreshing direction. There seems to be no end in sight for Gerry's suffering, even if he can find others like him he can band together with. Mulholland's narrative approach is quite clever, offering a twist on the played out zombie apocalypse tale that builds to its reveal quite elegantly. Romero does a great job in depicting the action, despite relying solely on black and white tones throughout. The Disease is a smart take on an aged premise, offering a great twist that really gets you to perk up and pay even more attention.

The Disease is available at Gumroad and Sellfy.