When it comes to Image and Aftershock titles (for me at least), I tend to pick up the titles written by familiar writers that I have enjoyed in the past. Brian Buccellato is one of those writers for me. With as many zombie movies, shows and stories out in the world Jennifer and Brian gives us a new twist on the genre, because all though they crave flesh and blood, they are still “normal” people. The book takes place in the southeast region of the U.S. where in 1994 a category five hurricane devastated the area. It also awoke ancient disease-carrying mosquitos that had been hibernating underground, unleashing a very old strain of yellow fever. The Global Medicine Management (GMM) rushed out a medicine called “Y-PAK” to fight the disease. Like most untested vaccines it had a terrible side effect. It caused whoever took it to crave human flesh. The book kicks off in the tiny town of Willow, Florida. Although news of the infected has arrived, the town is yet to see any cannibals.
We begin at a place called “Hog’s River Bar & Grill”, a young man working at the restaurant goes out back to take out the garbage where he in confronted by a man who warns him multiple times to get away from him. When the boy ignores the man’s warning he attacks him and proceeds to eat him. When discovered the people of the town unite to look for the cannibal, they had heard about these people so although shocked at the incident they are not surprised that it has finally reached their town. We are introduced to Cash and Jolene who have a very interesting relationship. Instead of just picking her up from her job (a strip club), Cash puts a bag over her head, holds a knife at her throat, bounds her and throws her in the back of his truck. Back at his place where it looks like she is about to be violated we learn that they are actually together and this was all just role play. Meanwhile the hunt party goes out and in a very bloody chase, the group manages to take him down. The next day we find Cash trying to figure out the best way to propose to his girlfriend and an old resident of Willow named Danny has come back and is in some type of trouble. We had already seen him earlier hiding by the bar during the cannibal attack. Then in the last few panels, Cash arrived at Candy’s house finding it broken into and trashed. Jolene’s well-being is left for us to ponder until the next issue.
Willow seems like the type of town where everyone one more or less knows everyone and they have their routine way of life. It seems like even with the threat of cannibals they still go about their everyday lives. For example, after the first attack, Cash instead of joining the town in search for the cannibal decides his is going to go home with his girlfriend. At Hog’s there seems to also be a usual crowd hanging out the day after they killed the cannibal. It is going to be interesting to see how the people of Willow continue to react as more strangers infiltrate their town. The arrival of certain cannibals is sure to get the attention of government agencies trying to contain the situation. What I really like about these infected people is that they still have a conscience. We clearly see the man in the beginning doing what he could to warn the kid to get away from him. Also after he is done eating, we can clearly see that he is remorseful of what he has done knowing that he has no control over it. Last the question two big questions, is Danny a Cannibal and is Jolene still alive? Overall it’s a really solid start and if you can find it I highly recommend that you pick it up.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jennifer Young & Brian Buccellato
Artwork: Matias Bergara
Colors: Brian Buccallato