Review: The Mocking Dead #1
From the New York Times bestselling writer of the Marvel Zombies series comes a gut-splitting (then eating) comedy! A small outbreak can turn into a worldwide apocalypse… but only through a long string of screw-ups. Once actual zombies begin popping up in our world, a lone intelligence analyst realizes real-life events are beginning to mimic the events of a long-lost, Grade-Z, drive-in horror flick. As he races to save humanity with this knowledge, he quickly learns the only thing more dangerous than ravenous walking corpses is the ineptitude of the living!
Dynamite’s new zombie parody series stumbles into comic book stores today. The Mocking Dead is written by Fred Van Lente with art from Max Dunbar. Aikau Olivia handles graytones and colors with Simon Bowland providing lettering. So does The Mocking Dead hit the mark, or does it come across as too stiff?
The story opens with a mysterious stranger holed up in a bunker somewhere. They begin recording a message to someone, anyone who may stumble across the tape. They admit tapes are an outdated technology even in their time, but when the world goes to hell you have to stick with old school tech. They tell us the story of the time just as zombies started to hit and right before everything turned to post-apocalyptic wasteland. Why did zombies take over? Because people are dumb. That’s the simple answer. When first contact is made, a secret government organization finds the one man that can help- Aaron Bunch. Aaron is a big old nerdy fanboy who runs a movie pirating site. It turns out that he was once involved with a government project that studied genre films and mapped out possible scenarios like giant robot attacks, vampires, and zombies. In fact he came up with Plan Z. He’s rushed in to a meeting with the top brass as they try to figure out what’s going on. When the zombie outbreak is a lot like a movie from Aaron’s childhood, the light bulb over Aaron’s head goes off. Can he figure out what caused the outbreak? More importantly, can he stop it?
Fred Van Lente writes an incredibly witty and funny story. It takes all the zombie tropes and spins them on their heads. Our characters know this is a really crazy thing, and they’re not afraid to make fun of the entire situation. There are even a few non sequitur type gags. A government memo on the project Aaron worked on is included in the middle of the story, and we even get the opening scenes of the movie from his childhood played out. It’s a really fun, irreverent send up to zombie movies and comics. Dunbar’s art is fantastic. He makes everything pretty realistic with a slight cartoon edge. The character and detail work is top notch. He makes everything look as fun as it sounds. Olivia’s graytones makes everything feel a little more serious and dramatic (like that other The –ing Dead titled comic). It’s a great contrast to the absurdity going on in the story.
Bottom Line: You may say we need another zombie comic like we need a hole in our head, but The Mocking Dead proves you really do need another zombie comic without making you do the whole hole in your head thing. Fred Van Lente crafts an incredibly fun and sarcastic series that stands out in the world of walkers. This is one you absolutely need to check out. 4.5/5