“’68 Rule of War,” the newest 4-issue installment in the “’68” comic book universe continues in the vein of Platoon and Night of the Living Dead with its wartime historical bent on zombies. Keeping it creepy, bloody, and all too real at times.
WRITTEN BY: Mark Kidwell
ART BY: Jeff Zornow
COLOR BY: Jay Fotos
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: April 2, 2014
The comic starts off with a terrifying scene of experimental neuroscience mayhem as Doctor Than Morneau examines his latest patient—soldier turned undead killing machine—Lieutenant Rule. While this story in the “’68” series continues various plotlines from previous comics in the series such as the US soldiers in zombie/war-torn Saigon, it carves out a beastly niche of its own with the terrifying vibe of the Doctor.
The Doctor, though only appearing in a few pages, is the highlight of this issue. He is reminiscent of H.G. Wells’ Doctor Moreau in his questionable science and confusingly psychotic behavior. He succeeds in being a delightfully realistic and natural, albeit unnerving, character. Though the plotlines outside of the Doctor are interesting and achieve a decent set-up for the remainder of the series, it’s the Doctor who truly makes this issue shine as a strong horror piece.
This issue does what most first issues do: introduces our protagonist, villain, core conflict, goal for the series, and leaves on a killer cliff hanger. It could have been better, could have set up less stories and delved deeper into the main plot, but what it sets up is interesting so I’m not complaining. Plus, though not incredibly detailed, the secondary plotlines are high on gore and chaos, which is always a blast.
Jeff Zornow’s art (when it needs to be) is extremely expressive and creepy as hell, yet calm and unassuming when the story wants to rely on plot. The changes in artistic style compliment the tone of the story like all great art should. The undead are almost fun in their expressions and deteriorations. Zornow adds a fantastic dynamic to the undead that we don’t often see in comics…or really in any popular culture.
I’m excited to see where this new arc in the “’68” timeline takes us. The combination of a historical war atmosphere and the absurdity of zombies is entirely too creepy and the satanic Doctor Morneau hits high on the disturbing Richter scale.
Reviewed by – Bree Ogden