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Zorn: The Last Zombie #1 [Review]

zornthelastzombie001Creator/Writer: Joseph A. Michael
Illustrator: Kidbot
Letters: Ydao
Published by: OH Comics
Cover Date: September 2014
Cover Price: $4.99

I saw a copy of this issue on the shelf this week and the cover caught my attention. I couldn’t quite tell if it was “Zorn” or “Z * RN“, but the subtitle The Last Zombie made me curious. I was also curious, not seeing any publisher logo or creator credits, so I picked it up to physically examine the issue. The art on the back was good, though I quickly realized this wasn’t something from any publisher I’m familiar with. And the thing’s a whopping $4.99…but I was curious. And the mood I was in, and realizing this wasn’t something from an established company (and/or one backed by a mega-corporation) I figured ok, but be an indie book, so what the heck, it’s a #1, I’ll give it a shot.

The cover itself being sparse–no UPC on the front, no publisher logo, no creator credits–looks a bit like a graphic with the logo pasted on…looks more like a house ad type of thing than a final cover (but then, I said the same thing about last month’s Ninjak #1 from Valiant!)

Getting to the interior, the art put me very much in mind of something like IDW‘s Ghostbusters book, with a line style and coloring that feels like this could be an adaptation of an animated series. I have mixed feelings in general on that sort of thing, but it worked well here.

I prefer my zombies in the tradition of Romero‘s Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, as well as Kirkman‘s Walking Dead and have long specifically avoided zombie stuff reeking of talking zombies, smart zombies, etc. But this issue offers me an exception, which is a very pleasant surprise. And it’s also a pleasant change from the depressing downer that The Walking Dead has (for me) become.

Really, my primary complaint for the issue is that there were a couple points where I’d swear a comma would have been more than appropriate, and the lack of one distracted me.

The story itself follows a zombie who barely escapes zombie-hunters, though his companion is taken down. While this “last zombie” hides we get a flashback to a few months earlier and witness his origin, how he lost his job and to make ends meet signed up to be a test subject for a trial drug. Which, of course, obviously ended quite well for everyone involved–the drug produced zombies, and they’re being hunted down. Yet there’s a twist to things that makes Zorn (subject Z-ORN in the experimental drug process) sympathetic, and leaves me honestly curious about where the story goes from here.

It wasn’t until I sat down to start typing this post that I noticed a September 2014 (SEVEN MONTHS AGO) date for this edition. The copyright dates are are also 2014, which places this as something put together and published some time ago…which kinda throws me off having found it racked with new April 2015 comics. Yet, realizing the issue is not a standard thing from a standard publisher…c’est la vie.

A quick Google search suggests this is something that can be bought digitally from several sources, and I believe ordered directly from the creators as a physical item. This is definitely something that I would not have given a chance as a digital thing…but having a physical copy–even at $5–made it worthwhile for me. What truly ‘sold’ it for me was finding it with all the other new comics this week…it wasn’t pushed on me, I didn’t have to go hunting for it, and it wasn’t just a PDF. (And the paper stock seems quite good…arguably better than what few Marvel issues I’ve handled lately).

If you like zombies, don’t mind smart ones, and are looking for something different…and don’t mind waiting for the next issue (I have no idea when/if it’ll be out) this is certainly worth checking out. As said, I prefer the physical copy, but I also assume many others do not have the issue with digital comics that I do, and digital looks to be less than half the price of the physical edition. As for me…I may have to start giving more of an eye to physical comics I don’t recognize.

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