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28 Days Later #2

Posted: Friday, September 18, 2009
By: Dave Wallace

Michael Alan Nelson
Declan Shalvey (p&i), Nick Filardi (c)
Boom! Studios
Those readers who were put off by the relatively large amounts of setup and the relatively small amounts of zombie action that could be found in 28 Days Later #1 will be pleased to learn that the second issue of the miniseries redresses the balance. Having got a large chunk of their characterisation and exposition out of the way in issue #1, Michael Alan Nelson and Declan Shalvey are free to push forwards with a story that's weighted in favour of the horror and action that fans of Danny Boyle's zombie movies will no doubt have been expecting from this series.

Yes, there's some light characterisation here, with a couple of hints as to the backstory of some of Selena's group members, and a neat scene that sees the team play cards whilst holed up in an abandoned pub (which couldn't help but remind me a little of Shaun of the Dead). However the majority of the issue's most exciting moments revolve around the attacks of the "infected", and the way in which the group fends them off.

Lovers of zombie comics and movies might not find a huge amount that's original or inventive here, but the usual tropes are pulled off well. There's an initial chase sequence across open land as the group races to reach a safe haven; a surprise appearance of the zombies that forces the group to abandon their base and relocate; a fast-paced action sequence as the team narrowly escape the "infected" hordes in a van; and a moment of dunderheaded stupidity that allows the zombies to get their hands on one of our heroes. Many of these ideas may seem cliché, but the book manages to pull them off without feeling too predictable or derivative.

Perhaps part of the appeal of the issue is Declan Shalvey's artwork, which manages to effectively capture the idea that the “infected” of 28 Days Later are more mobile and more vicious than many of the shambling undead hordes that we've seen in other zombie stories. The action as depicted by Shalvey is swift, bloody and brutal, and there are some bold sound effects and fun zombie dialogue ("Iaaacsscschhh!") that help to bring the visceral threat of the “infected” to life. In addition to this, there are one or two standout visuals that help to punctuate the issue's action, with my favourite moment of the book revolving around a lift shaft and a camera flash.

There's nothing wrong with a book giving readers exactly what they're expecting, and this is the case with 28 Days Later: it's a violent zombie comic that respectfully expands the universe of the movies, whilst also working as a straightforward action/chase thriller in its own right. It might not be the most original or delicately-crafted book in the world, but I doubt that anyone who picks it up will be disappointed.



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