Monday, 13 October 2014

G.I. Zombie: Futures End #1 - DC Comics

G.I. ZOMBIE: FUTURES END No. 1, November 2014
I am not very familiar with “DC Comics” Fifties book title “Star-Spangled War Stories” but do know that it ran for over two-hundred issues until the late Seventies when it was renamed “The Unknown Soldier”. I also own the 2008 twelve-issue limited series “The War That Time Forgot” which was a re-launch of one of its most popular regular features.
None of this information is especially relevant to “G.I. Zombie” however, as Sergeant Jared Kabe is actually a completely new character to the DC Comics Universe. It’s just that this new horror/war series has the iconic “Star-Spangled War Stories” banner bolted atop its title. Indeed I’d be entirely oblivious to the modern-day undead soldier if it was not for the stunningly superb 3-D motion cover to this “G.I. Zombie - Futures End” one-shot comic.

Drawn by Dave Johnson, it depicts Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s creation momentarily surrounded by zombies, before punching one in the head so hard the living corpse’s eyeball breaks free. Gross, bloody and gory it is but also so eye-catching (pun) that it convinced me to purchase the edition just as soon as I saw it. Lucky for the publisher too, for if I’d had an inkling as to the quality of the artwork inside the comic I’d have been sorely tempted to give the book a miss… despite the cover illustration on its own probably being worth the ‘price of admission’.

As a stand-alone story, co-writers Gray and Palmiotti certainly plunge the reader into the action right from start. The very first panel has a would-be looter getting attacked by a hungry ghoul, and before many more have passed you have an American aircraft carrier being overrun by zombie paratroopers. Throw in a family’s headlong dash for Gotham City with a horde of hungry undead biting at their heels, and an aeroplane battle which ends up with a fist-fight in the sky and there’s probably not a great deal more that could be contained within the storyline’s twenty-pages.

Unfortunately it is all appallingly drawn by Scott Hampton, whose indistinct minimalist sketchings leave an awful lot to be desired. There is simply no detail on any of his figures, and as a result most of the panels appear to be filled with just the outlines of people and the suggestion of something taking place. It is certainly no wonder that the freelance comic book artist colours his own illustrations, as I’d imagine another professional looking at his ‘chicken-scratchings’ would not know where to begin.
Writers: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, and Artist/Colorist: Scott Hampton

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