iZombie – Where Do I Start

By Roger

I’d seen all of the iZombie issues at the comic book store since the series began in July of last year, but having flipped through a few of them and found the art to be absolutely terrible, I’d always decided against reading the series. That isn’t to say that I can’t appreciate a good story regardless of the art, because I obviously can, being a writer. However, bad art in a visual medium really puts me off.

Still, when I read that it was nominated for a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best New Series, I decided I should give it a shot. I picked up eleven issues putting myself completely up to date, able to not only give the series more than a fair chance if it needed it, but also to give myself a strong foundation for this feature.

Sadly, getting through all of these issues was an exercise in patience, disgust and determination (to get my money’s worth). And for the record, that disgust was not a pleasant disgust in the brain-eating content, but rather disgust at the fact that such tripe is actually published and given a nomination for Best New Series. THAT, more than anything else, is what bothered me about reading this series.

iZombie is the story about Gwen Dylan, a zombie. Bet you didn’t see that coming. Obviously, writer Chris Roberson is trying to capitalize on the whole “i” craze, however it makes little to no sense to use it in this context.

But I digress. Gwen works as a gravedigger, which is quite convenient. Not to mention cliché.

Once a month, Gwen must dine on brain matter, otherwise she will turn into a stereotypical, brainless zombie… the kind that Shawn would have thrown old vinyl LPs at. So she digs up corpses which she’s recently buried and cracks open their head with a pretty, red spade.

The only problem, other than the taste apparently, is that in so doing, Gwen absorbes many of the deceased’s memories. This leads her onto journeys to resolve issues which the deceased never got a chance to take care of prior to dying. In some cases, the deceased’s murderer still roams free, and Gwen takes it upon herself to confront this person. Apparently once you’ve already died, you no longer need backup… or common sense.

If all of this is not cliché enough for you, how about we toss in a ghost girlfriend from the 50s. Or perhaps a were-terrier. You read that correctly. Not werewolf. Were-terrier. Still not cliché enough for you? Well hell then, why don’t we add vampires, mummies and what would this all be without Monster Hunters!

I know what you’re thinking. Roberson would not possibly have Gwen fall for a Monster Hunter. That would be too much for even the most forgiving of clichéd, melo-dramatic, teen zombie fans to endure.

I am sorry to report that yes… they do fall in love.

They bump into each other a few times, an immediate spark in their eyes (of course), and even spend a “perfect” date together, finding out that they are in fact, soul mates. (By the way, click that link to see an example of some of the absolutely terrible art that you can expect to find in this series.)

Over the course of the eleven issues I read, Gwen had to eat a couple brains. Roberson is using this as a means of keeping the series alive (bad pun), however it’s a tired mechanic which we’ve seen all too often. As such, I’ve absolutely no interest in any of the extended characters which Gwen forces herself to speak to in order to quiet the voices in her mind.

The series also spends way too much time on the vampire college girls. It’s as if Roberson wants to try to attract as many emo-vampire readers as possible by filling pages with attractive college girls with sharp teeth. And just in case that doesn’t cover all the bases, he also tosses in the Bride of Frankenstein and a possessed chimp.

(Editor’s Note: I am massaging my temples as I type this.)

There is absolutely no clear course in this series. It is all over the map, and with each turn, more stupidity slaps you in the face. And then there’s the aforementioned art.

I have seen better art from junior high school students. With the exception of a few panels, the entire series to date has been this bad. The art is very simplistic, though not stylishly so. It also appears to be colored with pencil crayons in some panels. I doubt it was. I’m just saying it actually looks that bad in some cases. Sadly, colors and shading are just as pitiful as the original pencils and inks.

In some instances, facial proportions are completely out of whack, which leads me to wonder about Michael and Laura Allred’s art education. It is possible that the work is rushed, simply because they do not have the time required to make it better. If that is the case, then there’s not much that can be done to improve upon it.

I tried to think of a lot of ways to approach this review wherein I could provide more constructive criticism, however the only critiques I can offer would be to replace the art staff, get a new writer who isn’t so hell-bent on clichés, trim the story to a manageable arc that’s tight and interesting, and change the name of the series to something that actually makes sense.

Then I realized my constructive critique was basically to start from scratch.

Story: Chris Roberson
Art: Michael Allred, Laura Allred

After a 25 year absence from comic books, Roger has returned, thanks in no small part to the iPad.


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  2. Roger April 19, 2011, 6:08 pm

    For the record, I had every intention of giving this feature a lot of attention and posting a lot of information regarding Gwen’s exploits over the course of those 11 issues… however in the end, I was simply disgusted with the series as a whole.

    This is all I could write, without further tearing it apart, which is not what I wanted to do in the first place.


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