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Grave GRRRLS #1

Posted: Saturday, April 9, 2005
By: Ray Tate



"Destroyers of the Dead"

Writer/Artists: Scott Licina, Ken Wolak, Dawn Growszewski (color assists)
Publisher: Midnight Show

I wasn't overly fond of this book, but I can't say that it's really bad. It's technically well-written and decently drawn with vivid colors. The flaws aren't entirely due to the writing or the artwork and really are more based on the the subgenre of zombie horror. Grave GRRRLS really excels with regard to the science fiction element, but the rest of it simply does not stick together.

When speaking of zombies, we are not referring to actual victims of criminals that have utilized the chemistry of tetradotoxin to enslave innocents. Instead, we are talking about the shambling dead of the movies. Zombies that sleepily shuffled through the celluloid before Romero usually arose because of magic, and as always magic defies science. So these zombies could be creatures that had powers beyond mortal ken. The hopping vampire of Asian cinema is a good example of this type of zombie. Usually, American and British zombies did not have any magical powers, but that's not pertinent to the discussion.

The zombies of Romero and their splattery ilk from Europe are usually products of science fiction. Normally a virus, bacterium or a mad scientist in these flicks awakens the hungry dead, but if this is the case they really should be pushovers. Mike Nelson on the commentary of the highly recommended recent Night of the Living Dead DVD, from Columbia/Tri-Star, accurately implies that somebody of reasonable health should be able to book from the walking dead. He also insightfully notes that there's no really good reason why zombies should suddenly become organized. I've often wondered why zombies given their constant craving and lack of energy seem to be imbued with super-strength. As Mike points out on the commentary, they're the same people--just dead. The only way zombies can become a threat logically is if they outnumber you and corner you, yet you still should have an eighty percent shot at getting out alive.

How does this factor into the plot of Grave Grrls? The idea behind the zombies is a perfectly science fiction sound one and exhibits inspiration and novelty in its origin, but why would you need somebody special--products of the same experiments that created the things--to take them down? The Grave GRRRLS have allegedly some super-powers, but super-powers shouldn't be needed to get rid of scifi zombies. Scifi zombies are more like persistent pests than actual deadly monsters. What exactly are the Grave GRRRLS powers anyhow? They seem just to be a little tougher and stronger than average, but really couldn't they have just been exceptionally fit operatives of the spy genre and do the same job? This looks a lot like She Spies, and I'm not exactly wild about She Spies.

The Grave GRRRLS artistically exhibit some proportion, but they unfortunately look alike. Their characterization veers wildly from each other, but none of this characterization is exactly appealing. One Grave GRRRL is a failure. The other has a foul mouth, and there's a fusion between her sexual innuendo to zombie intent that doesn't at all fit. Most of the zombie films are justly sexless. Zombies out for food not booty. There's nothing sensual about zombies. They're the smelly, deteriorating remnants of our former selves. Oooooo. Sexxxy. Any nudity seen in a zombie film is usually practical nudity--zombie from the morgue in Night of the Living Dead--or a ridiculous moment of exploitation to awaken the audience--Linnea Quigley's goofy graveyard striptease in Return of the Living Dead. The clearly delineated camel-toe from the Grave GRRRLS rubber suit is unwarranted and distracting. What hero, when they're not hunting under water, habitually wears a rubber suit anyhow? Wouldn't you be a sweaty mess in a suit like that? Can't possibly be comfortable, and comfortable should be considered when costuming a hero.

Grave GRRRLS doesn't really pack a punch. The heroes are somewhat generic. The zombies, which have an intriguing origin, lack the ability to instill a credible threat to the heroes. The combination of juvenile sexual taunts and the zombie quest for food puts a damper on the remaining potential for entertainment.



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