Friday, 3 April 2015

Zombies Vs. Robots #3 - IDW Publishing

ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS No. 3, March 2015
Naturally any reader of a comic book whose basic premise rests solely upon a post-apocalyptic world where walking corpses wrestle for control of the planet against robots, has already surrendered their judgement concerning the implausibility of the narrative. But unfortunately Chris Ryall’s writing for this title’s instalment of the “Inherit The Earth” story-arc stretches even that fantastic willing suspension of disbelief and contributes little to the “splice of horror/sci-fi excitement” “IDW Publishing” have been aiming for with “Zombies Verses Robots”.

Indeed the co-creator of the Eisner Award-nominated series really seems to have allowed himself to stray far too much into the mythical world of fantasy as his “space-faring humans” return to the Earth to find their immediate threat isn’t the zombies or robots, but Mermen and a multi-tentacled giant octopus which wouldn’t look out of place in a Doug McClure motion picture from the Seventies. Bearing in mind it has only been a year since the surface was ravaged by nuclear bombs, the presence of these fish-people somewhat jars with the planet’s semi-possible future.

In addition Ryall completely ruins the mystery surrounding the seemingly sentient gun-toting warbot 7-G by explaining that rather than being a glitch in the artificial being’s programming, the machine’s personality is due to the fact that it actually houses the ‘soul’ of Fritz Winterbottom. A situation the dying scientist was able to manufacture by turning his ‘essence’ into a wireless signal and transferring himself through a dimensional gate and into one of Throckmorton’s robots!?!

Anthony Diecidue’s simplistic illustration work is also rather disappointing, though the Los Angeles based artist’s more detailed depictions of the Mermen and their multi-limbed monstrosity are rather well drawn.

Fortunately this title is an anthology, and despite only being two-pages in length, Ashley Wood’s charmingly simple tale “Of Metal And Bones” is full of both sentimentality and foreboding in equal measure. Continuing the adventures of a small child and his mini-bot out naively looking for his long-lost mother, things appear to be about to take a turn for the worse as they decide to spend a night sleeping on top of a warbot whilst a zombie stirs nearby. The Australian’s artwork is as stylised and instantly recognisable as ever but genuinely seems to provide the double-splash story with an air of innocence.

“The Orphan” by Steve Niles continues to be this comic’s most satisfying read. Although some of the American author’s logic would appear to be off-key with this third instalment. Having provided the reader with an enjoyable series of panels depicting Bot-Bot enthusiastically clubbing and gunning down a horde of hungry zombies, the pace of the plot settles back down to the duo carefully picking their way through the derelict though dangerous landscape.

But before doing so Rosemary’s robot apologises to her for previously ‘slaying’ her zombified parents. Bearing in mind the hysterical reaction the young girl gave when this very recent event first took place, her causal “It’s okay. They were kind of gross” response is an annoying understatement of the child's previous extreme emotion.

Val Mayerik’s drawing style appears particularly suited to the gruesome scenes within which the undead are gorily dispatched; predominantly as a result of some grisly head mutilation. But there is little wrong with the commercial artist’s detailed pencils even when illustrating the less action-orientated panels, and he somehow manages to impart Bot-Bot with a personality which isn’t necessarily present in the actual writing.
The regular cover art of "ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS" No. 3 by Ashley Wood


  1. Simon, I know you like this series but I am yet to be convinced that I should buy them or a trade paperback if it is available. As for throwing Mermen and a giant octopus into the mix that makes me like the comic even less. Sorry.

    1. To be fair Bryan I think “Inherit The Earth” is absolute rubbish; both storyline and artwork... and more so now than ever what with the addition of Mermen and a giant 'rubbery' octopus from "Warlords of Atlantis" :-) But the second and third stories are great. I know you don't like Ashley Wood's artwork, but it works well for "Tales of ZVR", and "The Orphan" really is good zombie stuff. As far as graphic novels is concerned then I wouldn't buy this title in its present format. But I would consider buying "Tales of ZVR" if they produced enough pages for a tpb, and I will be buying "The Orphan" if that comes out as a single publication - its that good imho. I'll be sticking with this comic for a while though as "Inherit The Earth” concludes in a few months time, and I'm hoping whatever its replaced with is more like "The Orphan".

  2. You almost convinced me with the last issue dude. This one though has rather let me down, I'm still to be swayed. Further evidence must be seen.

    1. Thanks Bob. I'd hold tight for a while if I was you, as I know you like your tpbs and I'm really hoping "The Orphan" is released as an individual one :-) Fingers crossed for the next issue, though where the Mermen storyline is going I don't know.