Monday, February 13, 2012
(P)REVIEW: "Rex, Zombie Killer" One-Shot
Full disclosure 2: I don't like zombies. Not in the they-scare-me way, but in the roll-my-eyes-not-THAT-again kind of way. Like vampires, I just feel that, despite their inability to actually jump, zombies "jumped the shark" right about the time they started. Just not a fan.
Knowing those two things, then it stands to reason that REX, ZOMBIE KILLER is not my kind of book. REX is the story of a genetically modified canine who fights zombies alongside a cat, a gorilla, and two more dogs. While on the surface the basic premise may not be my cup of tea, I am happy to tell you that I very much enjoyed this book!
REX is by Virginia's own Rob Anderson, a GAME ON! subscriber and participant in our grand opening signing. Rob is a great guy, and thanks to a former volunteer gig at a Charlottesville animal shelter, brings a special knowledge of one of the major themes in his book. No...not the zombies.
Rob skips the standard contrivances of zombie tales (tails?) and hooks you with a peek at a major event in Rex's past that drives the major story premise: a group of laboratory and mistreated animals looking for a safe haven following a zombie apocalypse.
Art for the story is by GRIMM FAIRY TALES veteran Dafu Yu, whose art is clean and crisp, unhindered by much of the superfluous line work that tends to follow dark horror books. Yu doesn't try to over-anthropomorphise the characters, and his work is bright enough that he doesn't have to. The art is a very nice companion to Anderson's story, which despite the dark nature in the subject is ultimately a story of hope that Yu expresses in the characters to great effect.
I will admit that I don't know enough about dogs to be able to say how well Anderson has brought breed-specific behaviors to his characters, but I am familiar enough with the basic tendencies of the various species in his story to say that he has crafted a very appealing cast of characters that exhibit themselves in the manner you would expect them to behave in such a predicament. There were several times I found myself laughing at the interactions between the lone feline, Snowball, and Kenji the gorilla.
Another review gave REX the best possible tagline, and I totally agree: it's HOMEWARD BOUND meets WALKING DEAD. However, one of the reasons this book works is that yes, there is a link to both works, but REX is far more than that Hollywood-pitch style description. And, for a fifty-plus page story it
reads fairly quickly and effortlessly. It's a very enjoyable journey, and without spoiling anything I will say that you will be disappointed that this is only a one-shot.
That's where you come in. I am a big advocate of buying small press books as much as possible for several reasons. For one, more often than not small press books are published completely out of pocket by the creators. They make little or no money in their venture, and hope that with every book they get approval to publish will lead to more readers and an easier time getting the NEXT book out. Also, every creator in the mainstream that is considered a major player started small somewhere. John Byrne, Brian Bendis, and Mark Waid all started small and worked their way to the success and popularity they now enjoy.
Give REX a try. And if you enjoy it, let folks know. I know Rob as a customer and all around good egg, but I hope to be able to call him a success at what he loves to do: creating comics.
If you contact us in the next two weeks, Rob will give you a signed copy of the preview book for the REX, ZOMBIE KILLER one-shot. I can tell you that even if I didn't know Rob, and even though I might not be a fan of the two primary themes of the book, I still would have given REX a shot and I was not at all disappointed. Hopefully I have given you enough of a taste of what to expect to make REX a success and give Rob another chance to tell us another great story...and if once you get to the last page of the REX one-shot, you'll hope as I do that it's REX #2!
Click HERE for our post on a special REX, ZOMBIE KILLER offer!
- J. R.