Review - Zombie Zero #1 (@CriticalEntLA)


Usually, thoughts of zombies are about mindless hordes wandering through desolate environments on an instinctual search for something to eat. In Zombie Zero #1 from Critical Entertainment, there's more to zombies than just groans and gore. The issue is written by Christopher Reda and illustrated by Leandro Rizzo.

The Mortuus Virus, a disease that reanimates the dead, put a hold on civilization. Zombified civilians littered the streets and spread the contagion like wildfire, crumbling the populous and nearly bringing society to a state of natural chaos. That was 15 years ago. Now, with Mortuus publicly eliminated and social order reestablished, the disease's final carrier, Alexander Livingston, remains under the close supervision of microbiologist Dr. Victor Brooks. With his project kept secret as he searches for a cure, Victor tempts fate with the risk of another apocalyptic outbreak, and should the well preserved abomination escape, no one knows how long the undead can survive a fragile world.

Reda's script in the first issue essentially starts at the end of the outbreak as he focuses more on the aftermath from a scientific standpoint. Dr. Victor Brooks is something of a modern-day Victor Frankenstein insomuch that even though he didn't "create" Alexander Livingston, Livingston serves the role somewhat of Brooks' monster. At its core, Reda wants the book to be about acceptance and survival in a cruel world from the zombie's point of view. It's an interesting perspective as typically, zombie books feature the zombies with an uncontrollable, one-track mind of destruction and consumption so it's a refreshing take to see a zombie seeking out some semblance of humanity. The flipside of that is the hubris displayed by Brooks in his thinking that it's safe to study a remnant of a virus that nearly destroyed the world without better safeguards in place (like even telling people he's doing it in the first place).

Rizzo floods the book with an abundance of blacks in his minimal, black and white art style. The style enforces a stark realism in the issue while at the same time serving as an homage of sorts to The Walking Dead. The panels are arranged very neatly to allow for a tidy visual flow, but at times it feels a little too buttoned-up for a book like this. Nevertheless, Rizzo's style is very methodic and impactful, relying on heavy shading throughout the issue to great effect. The gore is also minimized because of Rizzo's approach, something that allows the deeper, more philosophical messages of the story to be delivered better.

Zombie Zero #1 strives to be a tale about zombies that's deeper than just that. Dr. Brooks and Alexander Livingston have a strange, creator/monster relationship that will propel the story to what will likely be interesting ends. Reda's script is sound and minimal, with much of the issue being presented to the reader through a stream of consciousness approach. Rizzo's artwork is very bold considering it's minimalist approach in the style and coloring (or lack thereof). Zombie Zero #1 is an interesting first issue that asks the question what would happen if zombies could think.

Zombie Zero #1 is available now.