If there is one thing that we have plenty of its Zombie stories. What was once a niche genre that confused the common woman or man, has now taken over the mainstream. You can thank a dozen properties ranging from movies, comics and video games for this undying trend. So the question when a genre becomes to big is, do we really need more? To answer that we have to look at the quality of the product. Sure there are hundreds of zombie stories, but that means there are hundreds of mediocre to bad zombie stories. And say what you will about the big popular franchises, just because you’re popular doesn’t make you good.
With that we should ask some questions about Tethered. Is it good? Does the genre need it? The answer is yes, absolutely. In fact the genre needs more Tethered and less of that other stuff.
Tethered is from the point of view of two zombies, but not in the sense that you’d expect. The first zombie we meet is more of a spirit hanging off his body. He’s tethered if you will to his body. His consciousness narrates to us and tells us about his death, but then we move away from his zombie form as it kills a normal person and learn about this man turned zombie before he died. We see him as a child and learn what shaped him as a human being. Because in zombie form, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care that his body is killing people. In fact it’s his only entertainment to watch them flee and make mistakes along the way and he doesn’t even find it that entertaining.
From there we meet a second zombie. His spirit is much the same, but rather than floating outside of his body he’s inside it again. He’s still dead. He still looks like a zombie, but he’s in control of his actions. Currently he’s trying to get drunk and in similar fashion we begin to see what’s made him into the person he is.
These two characters are very different from each other and the bouncing back and forth between them keeps the reader fresh. You’re never with one character long enough to be burnt out on them and since they’re of two very different personalities that’s a good thing. Eventually they run into each other and even then the story continues to switch narrations and perspectives.
What’s really different about this story is the focus on what made them the people they are. Not just their death which obviously plays a role to a degree, but really what events in their lives that brought them to being who they are. Often times in a flashback scenario like that we’re just seeing the character grow from a weak person to a strong person. Your favorite zombie TV show does this with every single character to the point that it’s not special or different. Here we’re not just seeing a before and after, but rather the journey.
The art plays a huge role in the story. I’m going to start with the use of color because the book is and isn’t fully colored. If it was solicited in Diamond it would say “full color”, but really it’s selective throughout the story. It’s used at key moments and key panels, but for the majority of it, it’s grey scale or the appearance of being grey scale. The coloring is definitely one of the more interesting parts to the production and adds to the presentation.
The art itself is very detailed. There’s diversity in the characters both in background and in design. Everyone isn’t in perfect shape and able to run for days. What makes the art really stand out though is roughly the same thing as the coloring. It’s what’s not shown. While each panel is detailed and complete, they’re often times simple. A boy in front of TV screen with wallpaper in the background. It’s simple and yet pivotal to the execution of the story. There’s also a lot of variation in the line work. Sometimes it’s thick and dark, other times softer and floaty. There’s a range of style and execution here, but it’s all very consistent and suits the story.
I enjoyed this story. It has a very satisfying ending and while some may not like it, it’s how it needed to end. I mean it’s a zombie apocalypse it doesn’t need a ridiculous “we all made it” ending. It has consequences for the characters, but more importantly it stays true to the characters. How we find them in the beginning is how they are at the end and that should make sense considering we learn what made them that way throughout. If you like zombies, but you’re burnt out on them, then check out this story.
Tethered Writer: David Faroz Precht Artist: Danny Luckert Letterer: Lindsay McComb Website: TetheredComic.com
Hear more about Tethered on this week's episode of the CBMFP!