When I first caught wind of Brea and Zane Grant’s new mini from IDW Publishing titled “WE WILL BURY YOU” my interest was not piqued from the fact that it was being co-written by the former ‘HEROES’ starlet, but the premise of the story itself. To hear the siblings talk about the series is akin to hearing a college professor lecturing on the not-so-roaring 20s to his class full of wide-eyed students. Brea, who sports a masters degree in American Studies from the University of Texas, shows off a knowledge and learnedness of the era she is writing through that is as refreshing as the premise she and her brother have chosen. “WE WILL BURY YOU” is a social commentary as opposed to a satire, and the fact that it uses zombies to compliment the fact is, well, an added bonus. Read on for the full review.
For those who aren’t familiar, “WE WILL BURY YOU” tells the story of Mirah and Fanya, two women stuck in the middle of feminist movement and the zombie apocalypse all at the same time. The two forbidden lovers share a romance hidden behind shared moments of secret rendezvous and sneak shows of affection. The year is 1927, and if you didn’t know that before you opened this book then rest assured it will be made quite apparent by the time the last panel is read. The Siblings Grant pair an exceptional knowledge of history with the beautiful throwback style of Kyle Strahm to bring readers a story that looks as if it could have been lifted straight out of a comic-strip from the same time period. Every small detail is complimented by every miniscule nuance to produce a world that gramma & grampa could even look at and feel a little nostalgic.
At its heart WWBY is the love story of two lesbian (albeit one who seems to be at odds with her sexual preference) women who are stuck in the slums of American prejudice and misunderstanding. Mirah lives with her husband who is a horrid excuse of a man that thinks the beautiful Russian immigrant Fanya has ‘infected’ his wife with lesbianism. Meanwhile the world outside is sinking into chaos as people are attacking each other in the streets and showing a peculiar lust for human flesh. These events seem to go on around the 3 leads unnoticed with their minds and emotions so tied up in their own little worlds that they neglect to see what is going on around them. When they do finally snap into reality it is after a confrontation between Fanya and Henry that ends in bloodshed. By then however the infection has spilled out into the streets and overrun the city.
Metaphorically and analytically “WE WILL BURY YOU” carries a heavy weight. Obviously the two writers had a lot to get off their chests regarding prejudice Americans and the closed-mindedness of human nature. At the same time the zombie aesthetic is not neglected, and readers are treated to some downright amazing scenes using the undead. Everything from ripped out throats and festering wounds to oral sex gone wrong are presented to readers in a fashion that is almost as humorous as it is violent and grotesque. I have heard several people motion that they were turned off by the book for Strahm’s artwork, but I say that they missed the point. Strahm’s artwork is a perfect pairing for this project because of its traditionalist look. In an age where so many artists and illustrators use PhotoShop and computer based webtools to produce their illustrations it is refreshing to see honest to God pencil on paper sketches for once. Rough, gritty, edgy, and real artwork that harkens back to the artists of yesteryear.
When all is done and read “WE WILL BURY YOU” issue #1 is a story that is not going to please all shades of readers, and it isn’t trying to. The story itself is a bit to hefty in message to be considered by casual readers, and if you’re looking for all zombie on human chaos then you probably won’t want to read this one. Because at the end of the day this is a character driven story that is trying to both set itself apart from the pack while at the same time using those same aspects that make it unique to teach readers a lesson in history and sociology. And for a story that is stepping foot into a genre that is so over populated that it threatens to explode like the belly of a decaying animal it is one thing to try at such an endeavor, but another entirely to show signs of succeeding.
4 Out of 5 Skulls
WRITTEN BY: Brea Grant, Zane Grant
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Kyle Strahm
COVER BY: Nate Powell
”Science or religion-can either save the world from the zombie plague of the 1920s? Mirah and Fanya fight through a city overrun with zombies, while trying to find a safe haven in New York City. It doesn’t take them long to learn that their only salvation is each other. Cover by Eisner Award-winner Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole).”