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Gwen Dylan is a beautiful woman that happens to live in a cemetery and works as a grave digger. She’s also a Zombie: the eat-your-brains type of Zombie. Gwen spends her days digging graves and burying the dead for the cemetery. At night, however, she undigs those graves and eats the brains of the buried. When she does, Gwen eats their memories. The dead then ask favors of her. It’s only fair; after all she is eating their brains. Gwen’s best friend is a Ghost named after Eleanor Roosevelt, or Ellie for short. Ellie, as you can imagine, also lives at the cemetery. It seems like Gwen’s world is full of the monsters of myth.
Gwen and Ellie take a girl’s night out before Gwen has to get back to digging. They end up at Dixie’s, a truck stop diner owned by an ex-assassin… Supposedly. The girls are verbally assaulted by Scott the Were-Terrier. Scott, a.k.a. Spot is heavily infatuated with Gwen and lavishes her with expensive collectables. Gwen leaves Dixie’s when she sees someone from her “old life”. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Gwen. How did she become a Zombie? Why does she still look human? Who was she in her old life?
The story attempts to introduce a very large world in a condensed amount of time. Chris Roberson (House of Mystery) adds an interesting narrative and builds an intriguing character in Gwen. Unfortunately, the story introduces almost a dozen characters including Gwen. There’s a blurry line between main characters and supporting characters. Add storyline characters to that and you’re meeting a new character on practically every page. Roberson forces the character’s conversation almost constantly. By doing so, the characters give the reader information not normally present in conversations. The world that Roberson has crafted seems to be a different enough takes on monsters to warrant a second issue, but really struggles to kick the series off. Vertigo books are known for hooking readers in on the first story arc, if not the first issue. I, Zombie has a lot of work before itself, if it’s going to follow this Vertigo trend.
Michael Allred’s (Mad Man, It Girl) unique style is what really makes the book stand out. Laura Allred’s coloring continues to be amazing and enrich Michael’s art. Michael is an amazing storyteller and does a lot just with the pictures to drive the story forward. Gwen is very beautiful in an emo/punk/tomboy way. She’s one of the guys, yet maintains her femininity. Although there are so many characters in the book, Allred makes each of them unique and identifiable. Picking up the second issue and finding the same characters would be easier due to the distinguished looks of each character. That doesn’t mean that the second issue should have the same amount of characters. The world looks intentionally dead, which makes sense, being that it’s about a Zombie.
The first issue struggles to find its way but does enough right to capture the reader. Granted the art plays a huge factor in that. Roberson needs to find a happy medium with Allred’s art so that his art is not over shadowed by caption boxes. Overall there seems to be a good balance of supernatural and mystery. The book retails at just $1.00 which takes a lot of the risk out of purchasing the book. If you enjoy the art of Mad Man and want another Zombie story that’s not quite like any other Zombie story then check out the book.
Story – 6.0
Characters – 6.0
Art – 8.9
Color – 9.1
Overall – 7.5