I enjoyed the first issue of Deadworld: Restoration so much that I ended up trying to familiarize myself with Deadworld’s history by getting the omnibus and the trade of the last miniseries, War of the Dead. That helped in making a little more sense of this story; now knowing a bit of the back story also made me realize that Gary Reed has done a great job of somehow making the whole Deadworld story going while still making it easy for first-time readers to jump on this story arc. Again, there’s a ton going on in this story so I’ll try to recap some of the main parts without boring anyone who’s reading this. It starts out with King Zombie looking out into a field of zombies while a siren goes off to attract them to an open field. We find out that the teenagers killing the zombies at the end of the first issue are called the Marauders, and they’re on another one of their killing sprees here. They’re paid for killing zombies and bringing their boss the zombies’ heads. Who exactly is paying them is unknown by King Zombie, but we do figure it out in this issue… and who it is definitely surprised me. King Zombie also has three Grakken with him, who are ready to feast on flesh. Now, the Grakken are hybrids of human and those not of this world or the ‘other’ world. Previously, King Zombie sacrificed a man in a fire, and out of the fire shot an energy presence that consumed three women that Zombie had taken hostage back in Requiem for the World. He still uses them as his weapons, and they brutally feast on zombies that the Marauders are trying to kill, and they kill some Marauders in the process.
Also, if I understand correctly, the whole reason King Zombie went after our human protagonists in the first place is mainly because of a man named Deake. Deake was Justin Lansbury’s apprentice. Lansbury collected tomes or ‘casting books’ as he called them, and he claimed he found the book. When he tried to perform a ritual from it he was killed, and now Deake has the book. King Zombie is now after that book, as he claims it speaks to him, it says everything.
We meet a new character who calls himself Beelzebub and has a very interesting outlook on naturally getting rid of zombies. He says that larvae will only eat dead flesh, or the flesh of zombies. They befriend Beelzebub and he joins Deake and Daniel, so it should be interesting to see how his plan plays out.
Again, I ended up talking more about this issue than planned but still left a bunch out. Gary Reed’s writing is great; I especially enjoyed the crazy tie-ins between different groups of characters towards the end that will definitely bring some more conflict to this already hectic story. On the other hand, it can prove to be a little daunting to read this book, as it will most likely take two reads to make sense of everything. Personally that doesn’t matter to me, but I’m sure some people could be put off by this. I do have to say that there are some characters that aren’t quite as memorable as others, and there were a lot of names being thrown around. The problem for me was that although I love the art, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish who is who sometimes.
Sami Makkonen’s art fits the story perfectly. As I said before I’ve been trying to catch up on the newer Deadworld installments, and the series itself has had a lot of artists. Makkonen had previously done not only War of the Dead but also Slaughterhouse. Now, Slaughterhouse was in black and white and looking over it I’m not too crazy about it since his style has tones of dark and shading. However, in color, his art may be my favorite out of anyone I’ve seen leave their mark on this series (and that’s saying a lot considering Vince Locke did a lot of work on this series in the past, any fellow Cannibal Corpse fans out there?). I like to think of his artwork as a form of controlled chaos, which plays into this tale of survival very well.
All in all, I honestly don’t think that there’s any other book that deserves $3.99 as much as this one does. This is thinking man’s horror done right.
Writer: Gary Reed Artist: Sami Makkonen Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/31/13