Xombie: Reanimated (Book)
Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Written by James Farr
Published by Devil’s Due Publishing
The first graphic novel to spring from James Farr’s incredibly popular Flash-animated series, Xombie: Dead on Arrival (review) was a different kind of graphical story telling; more novel than graphic. Xombie: Reanimated, however, is a straight-up comic compilation, comprising of the series released by Devil’s Due Publishing a year or so back.
While at first I had feared this might detract a bit from Farr’s excellent storytelling skills, thankfully no harm was done and Reanimated stands as yet another example of why Farr is so damn good in this world he’s created.
The story picks up years after the events depicted in both the animated series and Dead on Arrival, when we find Zoe, the little girl once lost in a zombie-infested wasteland who was helped home by a different kind of zombie, Dirge, living out a very dull existence inside one of the last remaining refuges for humans, The Acropolis. Since all the humans are afraid to venture outside its walls because of all the shambling dead out there, there’s not a whole lot going on most of the time. To make matters worse, no one believes Zoe’s story about a variant zombie who possessed intelligence and morals and brought her through a zombie hell to deliver her home safely.
That is, until another intelligent zombie takes out the human’s supply train and effectively traps them in a once- secure city that is quickly becoming their tomb. Then all of a sudden everyone’s her best friend.
The ruling party of the Acropolis sends her out to find Dirge, who they know is not responsible for the high jacking but might be able to help find who is, and pretty soon the two are reunited and traveling, once again, across a zombie-infested wasteland, this time being chased by an entire zoo of undead animals along with the usual ghouls and in a race against time as the power at The Acropolis systematically shuts off.
Though it might sound like more of the same, Farr does a great job adding just enough new elements to keep the story in Reanimated fresh and a helluva lot of fun. He never misses a beat with the banter between Dirge and Zoe, which is about as naturally funny as anything I’ve ever read, and adds a new element of religious undertones just to keep things interesting. Not to mention some startling, thought not too deeply delved into, revelations about who Dirge may have been when he was alive.
At the end of they day, Xombie: Reanimated is a blast from start to finish. You can’t help but have fun back in this exceptionally vivid and believable world Farr has created. The best part is that, just like the original series, Reanimated doesn’t feel like the same-old same-old zombie story we’ve seen told a thousand and one times, mainly because of the adventure and excitement that takes the place of doom and gloom usually found in stories of an undead apocalypse.
Farr is a great writer with a fantastic sense of comedic timing, and he’s helped quite a bit by the art from Nate Lovett in this series. It’s cartoony enough to not be taken too seriously, but stylized enough to give Xombie a very unique and individual feel. It translates perfectly from the Flash animated series that started the whole thing, and I really hope we see more of from this pair in the near future.
Do yourself a favor and track down both Xombie: Dead on Arrival and Xombie: Reanimated, you won’t have more fun with a zombie story this year, I guarantee!
5 out of 5
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