Post-Halloween Readings: Zombies and Werewolves
THE OTHER DEAD #2 (IDW, release date October 23, 2013) Writer / Co-Creator: Joshua Ortega. Co-Creator: Digger T Mesch. Art: Quing Ping Mui. Colors: Blond. Letters: Tom B. Long. Edits: Tom Waltz. Creative Consultant: Kevin Eastman. Based on a film treatment by Digger T Mesch. Covers by Qing Ping Mui & Blond; RI and Samwise Didier; Kevin Eastman & David Millgate + Blond. www.theotherdead.com
The Mui cover should get the most attention this time, and rightly so. In great detail a pack of bloody infected dogs chew on the scenery including the American Flag. The backdrop features a distraught President and advisor, while our main characters look for new, safer destinations. The symbolism speaks for itself, perhaps hinting at an inevitable conclusion to this mini-series.
So far, the variant covers by Kevin Eastman have been the least interesting. That doesn’t mean they are awful or not worth collecting. On the contrary, the Eastman covers are very colorful, depicting various animal species in the throes of zombie virus infection. However, now that it’s been revealed that all the Eastman covers are inter-connecting to form a large mural they become even more fascinating.
What began as an assumed revenge of the birds against the struggling death-metal band (that decided a little sacrificial blood-letting would launch them on their big breakthrough) continues in Issue #2. However, despite the thinking of band member Jude that they caused the problem (“Dude, that shit worked, man - -“) horrific and tragic events are occurring continent-wide that have no connection whatsoever other than almost all animal life has been infected with a virus with rabid, blood-seeking symptoms.
As the story continues, rocker Az and younger brother Tommy barely escape a kamikaze bird attack on their home. They are rescued just in time by his hooker girlfriend Alyssa and her hooker roommate Justine and their handy SUV. The best lines this issue are uttered by the pale and sickly young Tommy (quickly becoming my favorite character) as he frantically tries to update the ladies on recent events: “Dead ducks. Zombie dead ducks. . . .Yeah, they weren’t normal – they were all bloody and dead, but they still were moving . . . and they were pissed.”)
Things proceed at an even more rapid pace than in Issue #1. Before things end (for now) in bloody fashion, the President (who has just enough distinct features to imply that he is Obama, but never identified as him) decides a visit to storm-plagued Louisiana is appropriate despite the warnings of his advisors and the Center For Disease Control. After the birds, come the dogs (brought on by over-reaction by the President’s bodyguards - - just another case of Washington “wagging the dog”) and then the “gators” (who assault the reunited rock band and friends).
Issue #2 does not disappoint in any department. The art team captures all the gruesome detail in glorious Technicolor, as well as carefully depicted backgrounds and character details. Quing Pui Ming is a real talent and bears repeated watching.
With the use of just several colors (rather than the full four-color and combination explosion of most comics) and a minimum of dialogue, THE DEVIL’S DOG commands your attention through its quick lope through the first 27 pages of Act One. Just as the tension builds to a breaking point, it ends. Many readers will scratch their heads trying to make sense of what they have just seen while breathing a sigh of tension-breaking relief at the same time. There is a wonderful use of visually stunning images of cinematic scope plus great use of inks and shading and depth to help create and enhance the mood. It all makes more sense after reading the preface page, which also adds more layers and complexity to the story. I didn’t read the preface until after I had finished the comic - - and I recommend you take the same approach for best entertainment value.
The opening act takes place on the desert highways of 1969 Oklahoma as a hippie traveler with a dark sense of pleasure gets assaulted by a lycanthropic thrill-seeker. All of this confrontation takes place within and without a fast-moving Plymouth Barracuda. The attention to detail by Youtsey is admirable, as is the little touches he includes that brand the story as a real period piece. You will be reminded of 1960’s drive-in movie thrillers, an intended effect that Youtsey confirms on his website. This is one to watch. Recommended.