Dawn Of The Dead

Dawn of the Dead

Adapted: Steve Niles

Illustrated: Chee

Publisher: IDW Publishing

Publication Date: 2004

 
Does this graphic novel really need an introduction? Coinciding with the release of the (loose) re-make, this actually follows the plot of the 1978 original and as a result is a great companion to the movie, meanwhile Steve Niles (Remains, 30 Days of Night) has a great pedigree for horror comics so you know it will be well done from the off. I won’t go into the plot as I imagine we’ve all seen the movie hundreds of times and if not, then perhaps go and watch the movie now instead of reading this…back? Perfect, its worth noting at this point that this adaptation does not take any side roads, although it’s a companion piece there’s nothing here than adds anything to the story or character development, so if you are expecting or even hoping for that then you will be disappointed. However what you do get, courtesy of artist Chee is a more violent and gory take on the movie, as it’s a direct adaptation most of the iconic scenes are present (yes, including the exploding head one) however, others such as the role of the Krishna zombie are cut, I’m guessing due to page and time restrictions with these decisions meaning that the story loses some of its social commentary and impact, but back to the main point. This is more violent and it takes the opportunity to show that, along with a little bit of humour…wait till you see the unlucky celebrity zombie wannabe on page eighty-four and so does deviate slightly in on the visual front.  Chee’s artwork is of a high standard as expected although best described as, as Alan Partridge would term it, textbook as it never really excels above anything you would find in a similar publication.

If you enjoy the original movie, then this is a nice thing to own – its easy to read but will offer no surprise’s plot wise or any additional insight to the movie or the Romero universe, easy to read and nice for collectors but you would need to ask yourself will you return to it rather than the movie?

Zombie Fear Factor: *****

These ghouls have one thing in mind – to eat the flesh of living, oh and if there’s enough time perhaps do a bit of light shopping. They’re relentless, violent and over populated leaving our heroes with little choices of where to go when escaping the city and heading cross-country in the helicopter.  They’ve already taken over most of the country and they wont stop until everybody is like them.

Zombie Behaviour: *****

These ARE Romero zombies, so an instant five stars right here, they lurch around until sensing fresh human meat before using their overwhelming numbers to overpower their prey. Eschewing the grey make up look of Savini as used in the movies, these are a much more natural colour but still remain shambolic, stupid and persistent – they will not stop until you hit them in the head.

Zombie Threat: *****

There is no more room in hell, and now there is no more room in the Monroeville mall thanks to these ravenous zombies. Shopping on Saturday is not the only thing to be under threat as these zombies have enslaved the world with no reason, rhyme or indication that they will be stopped any time soon. While the remaining humans are forced to fight amongst themselves as marauding gangs patrol the countryside and obtaining gas comes with a high price. The zombies here represent only one of the threats, and that is the most dangerous thing for they have the overwhelming numbers and opposing humans have the intelligence meaning our protagonists are never truly safe.

Gore Content: ****

This graphic novel does certainly pay attention to the word graphic, taking the key gory scenes of the movie such as the exploding head, the basement scene all the way through to the lowly gang member being ripped apart while having his blood pressure taken are all recreated here but in some circumstances amped up to the max for full effect. It is here where Chee’s impact is felt the most, as extra scenes of heads being blown into pieces, bodies missing limbs and brains being splattered into walls come into their own. What the story lost in plot subtleties it made up for in this section here!

Overall Quality: ****

A fun read with plenty of gore but the key question is does it add anything? Sadly, the answer is no…its good but it’s not indispensable and it’s because of that, for failing to take the opportunity to be unique and expand upon the Dawn of the Dead universe, like Arrows brief Bub comic with the Day of the Dead re-release, that keeps this from getting full marks.. There’s plenty to recommend here but in terms of adding value to most fans there is next to none sadly, but saying that it didn’t stop this reviewer from till buying and devouring it.

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