Monday, June 4, 2012

Adam and Eve Bizarre Love Triangle in the Zombie Apocalypse Volume One

Created, Written and Drawn by Dan Nokes
Published by 21st Century Sandshark Studios
Release Date - August 2011

One of the most popular conversations that nerds around the world engage in is the classic scenario of what would we do during the zombie apocalypse. Recent events in the news have begun to bring this conversation a new sense of urgency as some are actually beginning to whisper that the end is nigh and we must all either aim for the heads or become dinner. Most of us bravely stand tall and proud and declare that our intimate knowledge of zombie survival will win the day... to say nothing of the fact that most nerds have likely never fired a gun, rarely work out, and have the commanding spirits and decision-making skills of a lemur on morphine. That is not to say that some of us may survive longer than the first day, but their survival will likely be attributed more to their luck and circumstances than anything else.

Enter Adam; a low-level technician for the United States Air Force who can safely earn the title of David Lister of the Zombie Apocalypse.

When the world falls apart, Adam is dragged into a bunker with other soldiers by his battle-hardened no-nonsense girlfriend Lilith who has spent the better part of their relationship carrying his sorry unmotivated behind around. Set seven years after the rest of the bunker's population has either eaten their guns or been eaten themselves, Adam now lives with the only the sentient supercomputer Groucho, his genetically enhanced dog, and the incarceration zombified remains of his ex-girlfriend who dumped him just prior to being digested. Still, Adam is quite optimistic and goes about life with a great big grin on his face as he manages the daily maintenance and has enough food and water to last him at least forty more years.

That is, until he starts up an internet relationship with another woman.

And thus begins the classic love triangle. I'm sure you all know how it goes: boy meets girl, girl drags boy through the military academy, boy keeps girl's zombie in a glass room, boy meets girl online, boy leaves zombie girlfriend to turn an internet relationship into a real life one, and zombie girlfriend goes in pursuit. Tale as old as time. But it's not so much the destination as it is the journey, and considering Adam is stepping out into the world for the first time in seven years, there is quite a journey to be had. And much to his surprise, it seems that most everything in the world is dead. This would be where I'd throw in the "Everybody's dead, Dave" joke, but I already used my Red Dwarf card this turn.

But as we could all expect, the entire world has not moved on, as there are still survivors and undead aplenty to witness on this quest for the woman he loves to replace the rotting relationship he left behind. Will Adam discover friends and good-hearted survivors, or whacked-out weirdos who are worse than the undead?

As per my usual, this is something you are going to have to discover for yourself in this excellent graphic novel. Suffice to say, there is much to enjoy in this very strange tale of love, death, and everything undead. At the time of writing this review, this is only the first volume of what creator Dan Nokes told me would be a multi-part series. If there's one thing I hope that happens as time goes on, its that we get to look more into the sad state of psychosis that Adam is trapped in. Needless to say, he is not well indeed after spending seven years in abject isolation. But if the some of the scenes later on are any indication, there is clearly more to Adam then what we see on the surface.

At the end of the day, Adam and Eve is a strange, bizarre tale about a strange, bizarre man written by an artist who is equally strange and bizarre in the best ways possible. The artwork is black-and white and feels a bit congested, but instead of being a hindrance it helps to emphasize just how claustrophobic and disturbing the life Adam lives really is.

Overall, Adam and Eve Bizarre Love Triangle in the Zombie Apocalypse Volume One gets a solid 5/5. The quirky nature of the story and initially despicable main character may put off some people, but for what it is the story is intriguing enough to make me want to see more of what happens to Adam and his friends.

Kantara - Issue #1

Creators - Chris Campana and Michael Radosti
Writer - Michael Radosti
Artist - Chris Campana
Colors - Roland Wybranter
Release Date - August 2012
Publisher - Wyrlwynd
Price - $2.99

Imagine that everything you had ever known and loved was taken from you in a sea of blood and fire; a wave of destruction made all the more senseless by the fact your people were innocent of any crime save for being ignorant to what the invaders desire. It's a fantasy plot that has existed since the earliest days - one where the enterprising young adventurer, fueled by the pain of revenge to topple the evil overlord who slew his family with such callous intent. By the end of their journey, the hero has learned that life cannot be all about revenge, and the world is better for the loss of a tyrant who brought stability through rapine, murder and savagery.

And yet... what if the hero could finish his journey before it ever started? What if someone could offer our hero the chance to go back in time and make it so they never suffered their loss? Would he make such a choice, or would the price one would have to pay be too high for anyone to consider?

These are the questions that Kantara, a brand-new fantasy comic book series from Wyrlwynd, hopes to explore and answer. Set in the land of Entalon, Kantara follows a young boy named Ris who suffers the loss of his home, his family, and everything he ever held dear at the hands of raiders working under the self-titled emperor of the land, Lord Orem. In the wake of his anguish, the sole survivor of this village unleashes a blast of magic: a magic that none are supposed to have, save for Lord Orem. Wounded, weary and tired, we are introduced to Ris in Lord Orem's torture chambers as the apparent antagonist is attempting to once more coax the magic into activation. Do these cruel methods work? What was the thing that Orem's men were searching for? Is there any hope for our young protagonist?

Unfortunately for you, dear reader, if I gave you those answers, that would be cheating quite a bit, wouldn't it? Instead, you are going to have to pick up this book and discover the answers for yourself. The first issue, as one would imagine, functions very much as a prologue; setting up the scene and providing a very basic glance at the characters in order to get their personalities. Even in this early preview, there is clearly more to these characters, even our main antagonist, than meets the eye, and I'm curious as to see what happens next. One look at Orem's titles already gives hints that there is more to him than just being the crazy blue bad guy our hero is going to have to defeat.

The artwork is vibrant and detailed, and has a constant flow of motion that makes it so dynamic. There's a fair level of dirt and grit to the artwork but the colors keep everything from looking too dark and muted.

Characters display very realistic emotions, and a lot of attention is placed not just in the expressions, but the eyes as well. This helps convey what the character is feeling and makes them appear to be more than just figures in the story.

This would normally be the time that I would discuss the world, magic, and everything else that goes into making the grand epic, but as this is the first issue in a traditional comic format, then it would be impossible for me to judge those things on any level of detail. Suffice to say, I am happy with what I have seen and the hints that have been dropped.

Overall, Kantara Issue 1 receives a solid 4.5/5 - it offers the same sort of story we've seen before from the fantasy genre, but the promise of more to come and unique twist and turns has made me intrigued. If you're in the market for a good fantasy comic series, this is definitely one worth checking out.

Also, feel free to check out the short video I did with the creators of Kantara: