|ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS No. 1, January 2015|
Though initially potentially inaccessible, there is something distinctly refreshing about this anthology. For rather than being the ‘standard comic fare’ “Zombies Vs. Robots” contains a collection of three ongoing strips, drawn by a pool of writers and artists. As such the stories are distinctly short, definitely different in their artistic styles and delightfully diverse in their viewpoints of the same world; one in which gun-toting poorly programmed robots have slaughtered not only hordes of zombies but decimated Mankind as well.
However in order to immerse oneself into this post-apocalyptic world, a reader must first persevere past the terrifically-stylized ‘oil on canvas’ cover illustration of a robot literally disarming a zombie by Ashley Wood. The title’s co-creator is both a successful fine artist, with sell out exhibitions in New York and Paris, as well as a consummate concept designer, and this really shows despite the somewhat grisly subject matter of his painting. But the picture is probably not what a reader would ordinarily expect depicted upon the front page of a comic; certainly not without being a variant cover such as those rendered by Alex Ross.
Unfortunately the artwork upon turning the page, this time drawn by Anthony Diecidue, is perhaps not exactly encouraging either and whilst increasingly competent, the Los Angeles-based artist’s sketchings are arguably also an acquired taste. Fortunately though, Chris Ryall’s penmanship is absolutely ‘top dollar’ and his first tale “Inherit The Earth” swiftly becomes incredibly engrossing as it provides the backstory as to the calamity which has befallen Mother Earth. Namely a man-made portal to another dimension has created a doorway to a world of infected undead, who now unendingly stagger through into our universe. Robotic guards designed to cull the walking cadavers have proved rather over-zealous creations, as unable to differentiate between the living and the zombies they’ve essentially eradicated both from the face of the planet with just the occasional “Say goodbye, Pinky.”
“Tales of ZVR” is also written by Ryall, with Wood providing some heavily inked sketches for the tiny tale’s two pages. A simple tale of a boy and his bot looking for his Pa, the young lad quickly discovers his father did not actually get all that far when the man left to get help. It is short, sweet and sentimental but very nicely done.
Finally Issue One closes with the far more ‘normal-looking’ comic book adventure "The Orphan", scribed by Steve Niles and proficiently drawn by Val Mayerik. Hunted by both the Undead and a seriously deranged rodent-killing robot, a long-haired youth scavenges the wasteland looking for parts to build his very own automaton. This is an extremely enjoyable concluding episode and one within which the reader can almost hear the haunting words and melody of The Ink Spots singing ‘I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire’ in the background.
|The variant cover art of "ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS" No. 1 by Gabriel Rodriguez|