Thursday, 23 July 2015

Zombies Vs. Robots #7 - IDW Publishing

ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS No. 7, July 2015
Co-creator Chris Ryall has clearly imbued Issue Seven of “Zombies Verses Robots” with a very different vibe as to what has previously been printed before. For instead of consisting of a rather mixed ‘hit but mainly miss’ anthology of short unrelated stories, the Chief Creative Officer has instead dedicated almost the entirety of this book’s twenty-two pages to “The Man On The Moon”; an “incredible science fiction” story which may well “astound you!”

Set upon the very cusp of the undead apocalypse in America, during “the early days of the Zombie/Robot War”, the Californian writer’s engaging and somewhat sentimental tale concentrates on the survival of a father and daughter housed within a “deserted and converted” missile silo sealed deep beneath “rural Kansas”. Alone, except for the company of a couple of Warbots, tiny Ava’s “Daddy” quickly succumbs to paranoia and madness, and orders his automatons to murder “the next-door neighbours”, inadvertently causing his underground shelter to be “breached by zombies”.

Unfortunately, having mesmerisingly brought the story to the point where the little girl is fatally bitten, Ryall’s creativeness arguably takes a turn towards the absurd as the distraught parent not only injects himself with “Ava’s zombie blood” but has the limb immediately clamped within a bionic device in order to “prevent the virus from spreading past your arm.” Worse the man also illogically allows his robot doctor to enclose half his head within a metallic mask which bears a striking resemblance to a medieval torture decide; “It will hurt a great deal… But not as much as this mask will.”  

Paul Davidson’s illustration work is detailed and dynamic, and really helps convey the passage of time by slowly portraying a progressively dishevelled adult and increasingly tall Ava whilst the story develops. Disappointingly though, the comic’s editor jarringly interrupts the flow of the “Judge Dredd” penciller’s panels by including three double-splashes drawn by very different, and arguably less impressive, artists.

James McDonald’s Chibi-looking montage of the weaponry of zombies and robots is attractive enough, and highly suitable considering it’s meant to represent the thoughts of a child as her father talks about what is happening on the planet’s surface. Valentin Ramon’s battle scene showing that “the zombies truly had spread to every continent on Earth, in mass numbers” is also competent enough, if not exceptionally gruesome and gory. But James Kochalka’s atrocious sketch of a warbot punching ghouls besides a river bank whilst highly stylised, is reminiscent of Matt Groenig’s early work on the 1989 American animated sitcom “The Simpsons” and really breaks the atmosphere of what had been, up until its appearance, a thoroughly compelling journey through the opening months of the planet-wide catastrophe.

Just as disheartening is the seemingly pointless inclusion of “Tales Of ZVR” by Ashley Wood at the very back of this comic book. The Australian illustrator’s ‘two-page short’, unenthusiastically coloured in a variety of muted greys, pales in comparison with Davidson’s colourful artwork, especially as it proves impossibly hard to distinguish what is actually taking place within a couple of the Spectrum Award-winner’s pictures. In addition absolutely nothing of any consequence occurs within “A Howl Of Wind!” except for the decision being made by the young boy’s female companion for them to visit “Wilma, the zombie-stomper!”
The regular cover art of "ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS" No. 7 by Mark Torres

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