While there has been a lot of talk about Image’s OTHER war-torn zombie story from Mark Kidwell in “’68″, there has been almost the opposite for Mark Sable’s “GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES”. A travesty really, seeing as the story itself is eerily close to being superior on the script end of things. That is why I have decided to bring you “GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES” as my pick of the week this week. Read on for the skinny…
“Afghanistan. Marines face a never-ending onslaught of Taliban. But even hell can get worse. The dead are coming back to life in The Graveyard of Empires, and only together can both sides of the today’s conflict survive tomorrow’s undead assault.”
When “’68″ hit shelves just a few short months ago it was praised by just about every critic and reader who helped to make the series a sell-out success. Granted, the series, along wiuth its creators, took to the streets in force for many months to help promote their series in a more viral way. But as much as that was a success and a testament to Mark Kidwell and Co. it is surprising to see how few people out there have heard of Mark Sable’s “GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES”.
The story itself is very comparable, though I hate to press two titles so closely together under the same microscope, but it is true. While both deal with their own time line (“’68″ is staged in Vietnam, while “GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES” takes place in modern day Iraq), there are very few glaring differences on the surface. However, that being said it is also a tragedy in its own right since one would have to think that “GRAVEYARD” will somehow be swept under the rug that is the shadow of “’68″. That wherein the tragedy lies, because “GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES” is a literal instant classic among the genre.
Much of “GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES” issue #1 is character development and story-line. Taking a page out of Robert Kirkman’s book, Sable is able to balance drama and horror perfectly to layout a script that makes most titles look like child’s play by comparison. The relationships between all of the soldiers is impressive, and by the time you finally get hit with the realization of what is so horribly awry in their world, any fan that is paying attention will instantly have invested their full interest. Easily the biggest draw of the entire book, and it will be interesting to see if Sable can continue to deliver with the rest of the series.
On the other end of the equation we also have artist Paul Azaceta, who does as good a job as we are used to from him, and delivers here in spades. The art is gritty and dark, but also eerily realistic in its detail. Being able to visually convey such an important (and relevant) story is not easy to do, and that itself is as large a victory as one can achieve within the medium, and as such it cannot be acquired very easily. So for all the praise that is due the scribe of “GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES”, one must also give the proper pats on the back to Azaceta as well.
When all is done and read there is absolutely NO reason to not pick up “GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES” issue #1. The book is the most solid investment you will make this week (Or, you know, you can roll the dice on another issue of Marvel’s “THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN”) and well worth the cheap $2.99 price tag. A treat for ANY fan of the genre, “GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES” is a major “win” in the Image catalog.
“GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRERS” Issue #1 Drops June 15th From Image Comics! (MSRP – $2.99)