Almost Dead Comic Book Ultimate Review spoilermagazine.com

GALAXY / BENJAMIN

THE ORIGINAL QUOTE BY JOHN DONNE ORIGINALLY STATED

“No man is an island”, but the original intent was most likely for everyone.

Everyone seeking a sense of belonging in an otherwise bleak and detached world. With this in mind, we introduce you to the first volume of Almost Dead. Almost Dead is set in our not-too-distant past- a time when the internet was in its infancy, where modems would gurgle out that electronic garble like a zombie, and when phones were only for ringing and texting.

THE ORIGINAL QUOTE BY JOHN DONNE ORIGINALLY STATED

SYNOPSIS

The year is 2005, and our protagonist Sara is busy flying back to Maryland for a sorely needed reunion with her brother Jake and her uncle Owen. The flight itself is relatively normal and breathes a false sense of security to the reader.
But this is where the fun begins. Before facing the daunting prospect of hiring a rental car, and making the last leg of her trip, she decides to visit the bathroom and freshen up. During this time, Sara passes a person who is not quite what he seems, and the various scratching is just a glimpse into what this thing is capable of, as this commotion soon turns violent, and we learn that this is one of the first waves of the undead. It may not be patient zero, but it would come close. When Sara goes to investigate, she is knocked to the ground and is rendered unconscious, only to wake up to an almost empty airport. Days later, Sara manages to escape annihilation and wakes up with a concussion that leaves her foggy brained and disoriented. There are echoes of the classic Zombie trope here, and not necessarily Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead, but more of Cillian Murphy awakening to find a deserted London at the beginning of 28 Days Later or a groggy Shaun trying to make his way hungover to grab a cornetto, almost oblivious to his surroundings. One can only gleam some insight into why Sara seems to be in this state of limbo (other than the aforementioned concussion). Perhaps there is a trail of breadcrumbs left in the mysterious childhood flashback that takes place during her state of unconsciousness. If the tattoo of the wolf is anything to go by, Sara is not all of what she seems, and this symbol could betray a dark past, where only the prospect of a new world free from banality and driven only by the strong and the chaotic would allow Sara’s true id to bloom, awakening her inner wolf, her warrior goddess, much in the same way characters like Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor do not fear trauma but thrive in it.
She manages to leave the airport, only spotting people from a distance. Cars outside the exit are abandoned and almost all are out of gas. Sara manages to find a taxi that still runs but passes out before she can drive anywhere. She’s oblivious to a nearby woman screaming for help as the woman is attacked by a flesh-eating zombie. But we digress-lets journey back to that nefarious flashback. This is the world beyond, which the writer Galaxy is crafting – elusive but a threat of something sizable, with hints of conspiracies, secret cults, monsters, and historical allusions to Aztec societies. From this flashback, we quickly glean that Sara has had no ordinary childhood, and perhaps the traumatic events of a zombie-like apocalypse may awaken the sleeping giant within. The story concludes with her returning home, only to find everything abandoned, but a lingering threat is growing nearby.

Almost Dead Comic Book Ultimate Review spoilermagazine.com

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

One of the key themes of Almost Dead is the overwhelming feeling of isolation, as Sara begins her journey in the pre-undead world detached and yearning for a sense of belonging, only to find this feeling repeated in a world emerging from catastrophe; a once thriving airport filled with nothing but the refuse, in a very ubiquitous sense; only to discover that the rest of the world may be the same – has society completely collapsed? And what do we know of the undead? Tonally, the first volume is a series of contrasts, with visually stunning images carefully crafted by Ryan Benjamin, (the renowned graphic artist of both Marvel and DC acclaim) and yet in its beauty is a world of grotesque violence and a deep sense of foreboding.
What also stands out in the writing is the characterisation of its protagonist and Galaxy’s world building, offering a multilayered world of both horror and intrigue that lays just beyond our vision.
The first volume tonally is a slow burn, giving its intended readership time to absorb the richness of the world offered in Almost Dead.
Almost Dead Volume One clearly asks more questions than it answers, but isn’t that one of the joys of being a volume 1? We look forward to seeing more of this exciting new addition to a world so scarily familiar.

SCORE: 5 / 5

About the Author: ROB LOCKETT

ROB LOCKETT

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