In the past month there have been several zombie animal books that have hit the market, but I look at The Final Plague as the granddaddy of them all. It could be the fact that I know that the story is already done and in the can or it could just be that it’s a fantastic story that gets better and better with each issue. If you’re all animal zombied out then stop reading those other crappy titles and check this series out, it will not disappoint you. This issue begins differently than the past two which is a solid change-up for the narrative. Our narrative becomes the Officer’s Log for Captain Eric Stroemen of the US Navy. He walks us through what’s happening in the lab in New Jersey that created the virus that we’ve already seen spread to other states in the country. What’s different is that the lab team may be witnessing the first human outbreak. Everyone in the lab stares in horror through the glass window of one of the quarantine rooms as they watch Francine eat the lab tech that was sent in for a blood sample. Now they’re in full-blown quarantine mode as everyone suits up and they prepare to subdue the woman and take a sample to compare it to the rats. That’s all I’m going to tell you about this group of the story because a lot happens and is revealed, but I can say that the origin of the zombie’s is a refreshing take.
The other half of the story is spent with our farm family in Iowa. They’re on the way to the emergency room to have dear old dad’s arm looked at when a speeding ambulance passes them. They make note that there’s a lot of traffic heading to the hospital and begin to wonder if their episode wasn’t limited to just them. This scene is jacked up because this family is so realistic. Their dialogue and conversation will have you convinced that you’ll be the one driving mom to her appointment on Monday. It’s jacked up because the rule of zombie movies pretty much tells us that the dad’s a goner. I’m hoping that he’s not and that they’ll bust out something special for him… but I’m preparing for the worse which isn’t something the family is doing yet.
The writing is so damn good. You really care for these characters, even the shitty ones in the lab that caused everything. As the reader, writer J.D. Arnold takes you sets you down on the ground level of this outbreak. It’s not all shotguns and the world going to hell. It’s really at the very beginning stages of wide-spread panic and confusion. No one’s like, “it’s a Zombie’s aim for the head” instead people are trying to help their family members and still have animals to worry about on top of all this. Zombies aren’t anything new, but Arnold certainly makes you feel that they are.
The art on this series has been fantastic. Artist Tony Guaraldi-Brown puts as much into this as Arnold does and his visuals help make this story stand out like no others before it. There’s a brightness to the lab setting that wasn’t there in previous issues or at least not as noticeable, but it works incredibly well for this issue. It’s a bit like Alien, but with the lights on and that’s really cool visually. On the Iowa side of the story Brown takes you there and makes it just as realistic and believable as the lab setting. There’s quite a bit of action in this issue it’s very easy to follow.
This is the only zombie series I’ve continued to read past the first issue. It’s a tired genre, but this creative team reminds me why I like zombies so damn much. If you’ve missed this series then it’s definitely one that’s worth going back and picking up.
Writer: J.D. Arnold Artist: Tony Guaraldi-Brown Publisher: Danger Zone Price: $2.99 Release Date: 10/30/13