The Other Dead #3 Review: Building Momentum
When I last reviewed The Other Dead
, taking a close look at the first issue, I was halfway between love and hate. Gradually, it’s beginning to win me over. This spoiler heavy
review of issue #3 will detail why. One constant within zombie horror that The Other Dead
has not unsuccessfully abandoned: human zombies. With creative thinking and a solid geographical setting, animal zombies are showing us that they can be every bit as apocalyptic—the other dead are just as formidable as the usual dead, if not more. Unfortunately for the protagonists in this story, undead animalia isn’t the only threat on the horizon.
To drive home the already well-established political theme, Louisiana is getting hit with far more than a zombie outbreak. The real-life horrors of Hurricane Katrina echo through the panels of the Other Dead
—yes, there’s a massive storm coming, and it’s part of the reason Obama feels a personal obligation to go down there and show his support. In Issue #2, there’s a scene in which Obama tells his advisor, “the people of Louisiana were abandoned by the last administration…and I sure as hell am not doing the same.” Will Barack Obama be the hero of this story? And very briefly, let me remind you of who the first victim was: Dick Cheney. The creative team isn’t being subtle, and I love it.
There’s no shortage of zombie fiction out there. Setting yourself apart can be a virtue or a misstep. Here, I certainly wouldn’t call it a misstep. Between the new brand of undead, to Barack Obama’s role, every bold step is treated with care and consideration, each headed in an exciting direction. As previously stated, the animals are turning out to be far more dangerous than one might have initially thought. Unlike humans, animals vary in size and have a knack for staying hidden—the same applies for their undead counterparts. You have squirrels nesting in your walls, you say? Well, what was once just a hindrance has become a near fatal infestation, and a damn good creative choice in finding threats where few people might think to look.
And that’s precisely what happened to the protagonists of this story—nesting squirrels, that is. I imagine it will only worsen from there. Speaking of the protagonists, my feelings about them haven’t changed a bit. These punk rockers feel like an elderly person’s idea of what today’s young generation is. They aren’t even a little bit cool. They’re outdated version of what cool was thought to be twenty years ago, and even then it wasn’t cool. So Az and Jude, despite their copious amounts of hair and leather, have fallen very short of being even remotely relatable.
I wish it ended at just the punk rock band. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. The only remaining female character, Justina, girlfriend and stripper, offers little save for her car and big house. And in classic Heavy Metal Magazine fashion, her cleavage is never far from sight. The only non-political character I have any sort of investment in is Az’s kid brother Tommy, who very often is the only thinking person in the room. I wouldn’t mind seeing him and Barack Obama navigate a stormy and undead infested Louisiana together, but that’s just wishful thinking.
The Other Dead
has, for a comic book series, a somewhat large creative team with more than a few big names. Joshua Ortega is writer and co-creator, and I’m very pleased with his pacing. The story gets better with each issue and, again, the creative problem solving at work is excellent (nesting squirrels was a great choice). Then, there’s Digger T Mesch. Credited as co-creator of The Other Dead
, Mesch is a well-known actor, producer, director, and advocate of science fiction and horror. The story is based off of a film treatment of his. And in case that isn’t enough, Kevin Eastman, owner of Heavy Metal Magazine, is credited as the “creative consultant.” I’m curious as to how much creative freedom Ortega has, and how often he has to answer to Mesch and Eastman.
Qing Ping Mui’s artwork is totally unique. In so many panels, there’s just too much happening to keep track of. When given a closer look, the detail is out of this world. Remember, animals tend to travel in packs, as do zombies. Mui does a great job at making animals that are ordinarily not a threat look deadly. One criticism: Barack Obama looks nothing like Barack Obama. He’s the most photographed person in the country; that shouldn’t be a weak point for such a talented artist. Everything else matches well the macabre tone of the story.
So Obama, Az, Jude, Tommy, Justina, and a presidential advisor named Chip are taking shelter together to weather the storm and battle the zombie threat. Despite my criticisms, I’m looking forward to future issues. The creative team has effectively won me over. While Jude might be way too obnoxious for me to ever like, Az and Justina have the potential to improve. I genuinely hope that they do. This is a comic that I really like and want to love. There are just a few things that need to be worked out first, and there’s plenty of time.