I’m going to quote BC before we start this review and just say that Full Disclosure: ‘Day of the Dead’ is my favorite Romero film. Now I’m not saying I don’t love ‘Night’ and ‘Dawn’, but there is something about Romero’s third film in the ‘Dead’ series that just appealed to me more than the rest. Perhaps it is the career defining work of one Tom Savini who meticulously rendered so many trend-setting make up and prosthetic FX scenes in the film’s unforgettable finale. Or maybe it was that amazing character named Bub, who came out of nowhere and made an a-typical Romero flick a CLASSIC one. The idea that Bub presented, one of hope and prospect, added a whole new dimension to the film and gave viewers a brand new iconic cult character. That is why I went into ‘DESERTION’ a bit pessimistic and came out the other side very pleased. Read on for the full review.
Ever since I heard that Barry Keating, Stefan Hutchinson, and Jeff Zornow were attached to the project that would give Bub his backstory I was hesitantly positive about it. The writer duo of Keating and Hutchinson had a lot of potential to make something unforgettable together based on their past performances, and Jeff Zornow is simply the pinnacle of horror illustrations in comic books. If it were any other project I would be jumping up and down and screaming it from the roof-tops. (To much?) But like the day when I heard the news that Rob Zombie was taking on the ‘HALLOWEEN’ franchise I reserved my opinion until I read the finished product. So when I received the envelope containing my screener copy of ‘The Day of the Dead’ special edition I skipped right to the book and planted my ass in the nearest seat. (If anyone had been there before me I’d have probably sat right on top of them)
‘DESERTION’ the entirely abysmal and nihilistic telling of Bub’s past on his last day as a human being. Left in the ever capable hands of Stefan Hutchinson (a man who is absolutely no slouch when it comes to working on these types of projects) the story is allowed to explore any area it wants to, and in doing so depict whatever it wants as well. This is not an easy read for anyone who is just an ‘average’ horror reader. Reading ‘DESERTION’ is like sitting through a thesis on the human condition with your eye-lids stapled to your forehead. The story never lets go of readers (and it really can’t afford to at a short 24 pages) and it is never an octave below disturbing. The things that you witness within this story will stay with you for days after you’ve finished it. Much like a film such as ‘MARTYRS’ or ‘INSIDE’ your mind is given an image that is burned into its memory banks, one that you will never be able to tear out. It will leave you exhausted emotionally, and like the hordes of the undead themselves, you’ll be craving more.
Everything here is polished to a near perfect shine. Zornow does what he does so well by presenting readers with macabre imagery that is as close to real as one can get by looking at hand drawn artwork. The characters such as Bub, and the few others that are lifted from the film, are all rendered fantastically and with great detail. It is baffling to me how Jeff Zornow hasn’t been given more recognition for his work in the field of horror, and once you’ve picked up the blu-ray on the 29th and read the book yourself you’ll see what I mean.
When all is done and read ‘DAY OF THE DEAD: DESERTION’ is one of the best and most faithful renderings of a horror icons’ back story ever written. Many have tried to make th transition from film to comics and explain these types of things, but never does it feel as if our beloved characters are treated with the respect they are owed. Keating and Hutchinson had their work cut out for themselves big time on this project and they deliver a one-two punch that nearly knocks the reader out. With its beautifully rendered moments of violence and hopelessness both artistically and narratively ‘DESERTION’ is a must own for fans of the original classic.
4.5 Skulls Out of 5