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Review: ‘The Last Zombie: Before the After’ #3

The cult-busting call for zombies in popular culture has been steadily increasing over the past decade or so, creating a massive sub-genre of horror that only seems to be growing by the day. But while most Zombie fiction usually describes the state of affairs surrounding the breakdown of civilization due to the rise of these flesh-eating corpses, Brian Keene’s The Last Zombie follows its own unique path. His series presents the rare aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, where there are, presumably, no zombies left in the world, and follows the remaining members of the American armed forces and government who must deal with the consequences of such a pandemic disease.

WRITTEN BY: Brian Keene
ART BY: David Hutchison
PUBLISHER: Antarctic Press
PRICE: $4.99
RELEASE: February 6th

Taking place two years after the zombie apocalypse brings about civilization’s collapse, readers are introduced to Dr. Ian Scott, Sergeant Warner, and their team of Colorado-based scientists, soldiers, and civilians assigned to a cross-country mission concerning a FEMA bunker in West Virginia. In a time where the zombie threat is seemingly over, losing all contact with a bunker used to protect high-profile individuals, and which houses Dr. Scott’s fiancé, is more than a little suspicious. There’s a real sense of urgency that translates through the pages with each passing issue; and since Dr. Scott has been accidentally exposed to the virus that caused the zombie pandemic, his struggle to fight the infection long enough reunite with his fiancé adds to that intensity.

Keene breaks “The Last Zombie” down into five sequential story arcs, and each arc delivers character-driven issues and location-based imperilment that needs to be conquered before progressing with the mission. It’s because of this set-up that makes the series such an interesting read. This crew may have survived the zombie apocalypse but Keene keeps them on their toes with a growing famine crisis; the rise of plague-like diseases; and run-ins with drug cartels and outlaws. He offers his readers a fresh take on the zombie fiction sub-genre by staying away from the cliché and familiar; and by providing something different to the masses. It’s this uniqueness that will ultimately hook consumers.

“The Last Zombie: Before the After” is the fourth arc in Keene’s series, and it follows the team in Davenport, Iowa, where they’re forced to take shelter in an abandoned hotel due to a raging blizzard. Issue #3, the most recent installment of the series, is brimming with fantastically disturbing imagery thanks to David Hutchison’s black and white panels depicting a zombie orderly going to town on a maternity ward. Surprisingly uncommon, this is the first I’ve seen a zombie gorge itself on newborn baby intestines, and it’s too gorious to miss. That said, while the overall art presentation is visually pleasing, it’s not spectacular; but I find it to be a huge step-up from Fred Perry’s previous issues, though not quite as impressive as Joe Wight’s work on the series.

Zombie enthusiasts should definitely check this series out. If not for the well-crafted, relatable characters and their individual zombie plague stories, or Keene’s premise that flipped the zombie apocalypse genre on its head; then for the baby buffet massacre. Delicious.

4/5 Skulls (for the baby massacre)

Reviewed by – ShadowJayd



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