Friday, April 29, 2011

It Came From The Back Issue Bins #16 - Zombies and Lizard Monsters!

Star Trek - Infestation! #1-2
IDW Publishing
Written by Scott Tipton and David Tipton
Art by Casey Maloney and Gary Erskine

This two-issue miniseries was part of a company wide crossover called Infestation. The basic premise is that a zombie infestation has spread across the four IDW dimensions - Star Trek, Ghostbusters, GI Joe and Transformers. None of these dimensions actually interact, but they face a similar thread.

How could they go wrong bringing together two of my loves - Star Trek and Zombies.

I loved how they set this story in the pre-Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The story is rather straight forward drawing from the usual zombie tropes, with a great scene when they first encounter a zombie and Doctor McCoy drops his classic line “He’s Dead, Jim” and of course, the zombie jumps to life.

Unfortunately, there’s a goofy robot in the story that seems to pull all the tension and fun out of the story. You have to see it to understand. Sigh.

You’ve got to give the creators some credit at tackling this idea, especially with these franchise characters that you know can’t be killed or radically changed during this event.

The ending is quite good and successfully blends both great endings of Star Trek episodes and zombie movies.

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Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #1
IDW Publishing
Written: Eric Powell/Tracy Marsh
Art by Phil Hester and Bruce McCorkindale

Wow. Talk about shitty timing. Let me clarify that a comic book is usually produced 3-6 months before it hits the stands. However, the timing of this Godzilla comic book probably couldn’t be any worse.

With that aside, I saw this as yet another reboot of the Godzilla franchise in comic book form. I loved the Marvel series from the last 1970s (which give me a good idea for a future review), but didn’t have high hopes. Seeing that this issue was co-written by Eric Powell, creator of The Goon, and featured art by Phil Hester (Green Arrow and Firebreather) did convince me to pick it up. What did as well was a clever promotion offering to feature your comic book store on a variant version of the cover if your comic book store pre-ordered 500 copies.

Hester’s art does a wonderful job of moving the story alone without any narration, captions, or minimal dialog. However, I found a few pages a bit confusing as he tries something new on these one-panel pages, capturing in one panel what should be conveyed by a few. While he innovatively tries to use clever breaks to split up the art into its parts, I felt that it pulled me out of the comic book to figure out what was going on.

So, while I expected a lot worse, it wasn’t bad. Another problem was that it was such a quick read that the overall story didn’t get much traction and didn’t leave a lot of hooks in my mind to remind me to pick up issue #2. Perhaps it will read better when the story arc is reprinted in a trade paperback format.

--Jason Shayer