Well now… this is what I wanted to see. In the past few story arcs my reviews have mentioned the fact that Janey has been going through a wash and repeat process with the enemies she’s encountered and no real growth has occurred with her outside of the one-shots written and illustrated by creator Dan Mendoza. Well that all changes here as Mendoza solo writes this issue and not only does it take on a darker tone, but Janey grows more than she has in the past ten or so issues as a character. We already knew that she would be in Florida in this issue given the past two issues that have teased all the pieces coming into play and leading there. What wasn’t known to us was the fate of Janey’s father, which I won’t spoil, but it’s covered at the beginning of the issue. It’s a great bit of information because it reveals how Janey ended up on her crash course with her first pimp Fisk.
Janey’s terrible backstory is finally fully revealed to us and it’s fucked up. Before you cry foul, she’s had a tragic backstory from the very beginning of the series and she’s used that to empower herself. You can see why Janey wants to get rid of this fucker and I’m all for it. She sets up a trap expecting to get the jump on Fisk and is thrown a total curveball. We as the reader are also thrown a curveball because I’ll admit I didn’t see this coming and I have no idea what to expect next.
That is very refreshing issue for the series. Some readers might miss the cheeky nature the series has had since starting the third volume, but it’s a necessary step for the series to stay fresh and continue to tell new stories. Otherwise it’s just Zombie Tramp visits “insert city” and kills some assholes and moves on. Fun for a while, but that’s kind of all this series has been for the most part and it’s gotten dull.
Mendoza’s writing has a great pace in this issue. It’s a lot of narration and a lot of backstory, but it’s worth it to be the story arc and to just finally have the information. The narration has a great flow and really builds Janey as a character. She’s being Janey and not Zombie Tramp in these moments.
TM Chu returns to the series after a long absence. If Mendoza isn’t going to illustrate the series, then my next pick is Chu. He’s improved a lot. His backgrounds are no longer empty boxes filled with color, but instead vibrant panels that are our window into this world. He’s far better at illustrating Janey this time around and even manages to illustrate young Janey in a convincing fashion. I also like his take on the classic Zombie Tramp costume which makes an appearance in this issue.
Colorist Marcelo Costa continues with the series and I’m happy about that as well. It’s a definite step in the right direction. Costa’s coloring is better than the last issue and while I will always prefer the vibrancy that Mendoza has with his colors, Costa’s style fits well with Chu’s artwork and that’s more important than my personal preference. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Costa’s coloring as the series goes on.
The shit has hit the fan. This is the grimmest it’s every looked for Janey and it’s only the first issue in the arc. Usually that’s how the story goes for her, but there’s something different about this issue. It’s darker and clearly Mendoza has been building towards this event with his one-shots and co-written issues on the series. Though I still read Zombie Tramp each month, it’s been a while since I was looking forward to an issue, see you next month.
[button btn_url="" btn_color="teal" btn_size="large" btn_style="default" btn_outlined="no" link_target="blank" link_rel="" icon_left="" icon_right=""]Score: 4/5[/button]
Zombie Tramp #21 Writer/Creator: Dan Mendoza Artist: TM Chu Colorist: Marcelo Costa Publisher: Action Lab/Danger Zone Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/30/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital