|ALIENS VS. ZOMBIES No. 5, December 2015|
Having already seen to it that this comic’s cast are “surrounded by dozens of zombies” whilst being trapped deep underground amidst the debris of a derelict tube station, Joe Brusha still manages to make his protagonists’ predicament increasingly perilous throughout this concluding instalment of the “Zenescope Entertainment” mini-series. In fact the publishing company’s co-creator makes it decidedly difficult for the reader to ascertain with any confidence whatsoever, which of the heroes is actually going “to survive the zombie apocalypse” until the book’s very last page; “There’s no way through this rubble. We’re going to have to shoot our way out of this.”
This pervading sense of doubt throughout the narrative begins almost straight away as Nova and Raxus’ ‘prickly’ future trying to rebuild their species after it was “wiped out” by “the interstellar virus” is emphatically resolved by the alien captain’s would-be consort rather explosively sacrificing himself after he is bitten on the ankle. Such a dramatic ending to so central a character really raises a question mark as to the fate of all the other survivors, especially when the formidably huge, and seemingly unstoppable Balgar suddenly and rather unexpectedly ‘turns’ and tears one of Tak’s arms off. Indeed the enormous extra-terrestrial’s zombification really can come as a complete surprise if artist Vincenzo Riccardi’s tiny panel depicting the dome-headed behemoth’s scratched calf is missed.
“Seven miles to the Northeast” and Melissa’s destiny seems equally as uncertain as she and her colleagues rather contrivingly take refuge within a large crypt. With Tavon’s freshly dead henchmen on the outside and a party of shambling corpses attacking them on the inside, it really does appear that it is all over for Colt’s love interest. Especially when the burial chamber’s entrance is finally breached and Cromm is seemingly overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers.
Sadly, having endured and enjoyed such a roller coaster of a final ride, Brusha’s “two weeks later” epilogue provides a rather rushed and dissatisfying conclusion to so exciting a five-issue serial. Raxus Prime’s memorial, “even though he is not really buried here”, seems fitting enough, as does the slightly unconvincing nature of Balgar’s “indestructible” genetic makeup. But then in the space of a handful of panels the “spacecraft full of alien scientists” are ‘up and away’, leaving behind a rather wistful-looking Colt who supposedly intends to “help rebuild the planet.”
|The regular cover art of "ALIENS VS. ZOMBIES" No. 5 by Jason Metcalf and Victor Bartlett|