Tired of zombies. Real tired. Generally got to have one whopper of a hook for me to even bother reading one these days. Something that really says, “just bear with us, this will be worth it”. So lay it on me Dead Future King. What's your angle? King Arthur fighting zombies.
Okay, my antagonism to this genre aside, this book is actually pretty solid. If you want another zombie book, this is one of the best I've seen lately. I couldn't possibly relate to that desire, but if you want it, come and get it.
Dead Future King comes to us courtesy of David Flores, who does double duty both writing and doing all of the artwork. The premise is centuries after the death of legendary Briton King Arthur, the royal is resurrected in zombiefied present day, disoriented and beset on all sides by those tiresome brain-munchers. He's got as many questions as we do, and the book teases us with promises of future answers, suggesting this zombie plague might have as much to do with magic as it does science.
The great highlight of the book is the art. Flores is clearly a capable and professional illustrator. His digital lines are expressive and stripped-down, his compositions artistic and diverse. The action and violence have a nice heft to it, and while the colors are flat and desaturated, they get the job done and let the lines do the work, appropriately.
The writing isn't quite as impressive. The story's pacing is great, drawing you in and parsing out information slowly so you'll come back for more. And you know what, despite hating this herpes like genre, the story did actually do a good job at nabbing me. I could call all of its beats, but there's some world building that if handled correctly could result in a pretty addictive book. The problem is that the whole book is narrated from Arthur's perspective in faux Medieval prose. It waxes poetic about every action he takes, like you're reading his journal as the action unfolds. In the opening when we're in Arthurian times this is a fine way to get everyone caught up on the legend and the events leading to his death, but when it resumes the moment he crawls out of his muddy grave it becomes an irritating gnat buzzing around the great art, telling when the book is doing a fine job of showing. A lack of a more elegant solution is really the only big complaint I have about this book, it's otherwise a strong and professional work that, while not transcending its genre, certainly doesn't trip on its high-concept premise.
Certainly worth a read if you want another zombie book. And maybe the highest praise I can offer a zombie book is that it might be worth a read even if you don't.
Writer/Artist: David R. Flores Publisher: [Sic] Monkie/Alterna Price: $1.99 Website