The war rages on in one of the most magnificently and least-subtly named comics to emerge in recent years. The most demented of mad scientists has created a platoon of undead soldiers and unleashed them into the verdant combat zone, giving the horrors of war a whole new meaning. As the jungles of Vietnam become increasingly overrun with zombies both human and animal, the fight for survival becomes a matter for all, not just the forces on either side of the conflict.
The zombie soldiers themselves get a bit of development this time, shown to be considerably smarter than you’d expect of undead grunts, and posing the question of what it is they want. The true extent of their creator Dr Herbert’s insanity is revealed, and it doesn’t just come from his warped scientific vision. His ruthlessness in protecting his creations makes you wonder if there’s something larger at stake yet to be revealed. These gradual unveilings elevate the comic beyond the (nevertheless entertaining) trashy pulp horror its title invokes, imbuing it with a degree of narrative cohesion to supplement its full-colour fury. While many revelations utilise recognisable tropes of horror movies, it’s all presented with such unrestrained histrionics that the familiarity becomes part of the fun.
Speaking of filmic echoes, the comic’s cinematic aesthetic has begun to gleefully escalate. Incorporated now are a few panels mimicking 3D-in-yer-face shots, such as a vertically bisected zombie head soaring towards the reader with its eyeballs popping out on stalks like a lovestruck Loony Tunes character, or death by electrocution shown up close in an incandescent blue explosion of electric fire.
To ramp up the madness even further, the final panel of issue 2 teased the introduction of Death Squad X, a trio of Vietcong assassins dressed like a hybrid of action movie ninjas and an X-Force splinter group. With the release of their deadly skills, a whole new variable has entered the arena, and one that could seemingly wipe out everyone else with comparatively little effort. While their appearance wasn’t as significant or lengthy as was hoped, it unequivocally established their formidable badassery, and there’s no doubt they’ll be back to play a major part in the next issue’s incendiary finale.
VIETNAM ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST #3 / AUTHOR: GEORGE LENNOX / ARTIST: JAMES DEVLIN / PUBLISHER: CULT EMPIRE COMICS / RELEASE DATE: 29TH APRIL