by Jeff Mariotte & Szymon Kudranski
Joe Mundy is a cop in a city that's gone to hell. Nobody knows why or how, but zombies have come to town and they're eating their way through everyone. Joe should know – he was bitten by a zombie and is now one of them. But before he succumbs fully to his fate as a mindless man-eater, Joe is determined to solve one last case and uncover the origins of the plague that now rages through his town.
Normally, I'm not much of a zombie fan, but I thought this graphic novel was a real winner. It strikes a perfect balance between gory horror and tragic pathos through the character of Joe. As he slowly succumbs to his zombie state, we see a man both reduced to a shadow of his former self and a hero distilled to his purest essence. A zombie is a mindless creature that devours humans and infects the healthy, but even as he devours the criminals he arrests or begins to lose his ability to think rationally, Joe's goodness shines through like a dimming star.
The artwork for this comic book is stunning. In the zombie apocalypse world, colors are rich . The panels have a painterly quality that makes it look like the artist used oils to render them. In the daylight scenes, there's an almost Impressionistic quality to the way light reflects off the world. Flashbacks, by contrast, are done in scratchy, black and white lead sketches. There's an irony in this; the world of 'human' Joe is harsh and colorless, while his zombie self lives in a world of vivid, dynamic flashes of light. But it really matches the mood of the story and the dialogue.
At the end of the graphic novel is a short story set in the same world as Zombie Cop. I skimmed it, but I couldn't really get into it – which I think is a testament to how powerful the art is, and how perfectly the two elements meld together to tell this story.
5 out of 5 stars
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