Review: Rebel Blood / Writer: Riley Rossmo, Alex Link / Artist: Riley Rossmo / Publisher: Image Comics / Release Date: Out Now
Zombie horror stories have been done the death, raised from the dead, and done to death again. Rebel Blood is yet another tale of zombie adventure, and buys into as many clichés as it can cram into a short graphic novel format. So we have the lone hero, separated from his family due to personal tragedy, living out in the woods when a zombie outbreak occurs, and of course, he goes on a quest to rescue his wife and son. As the tale continues, we learn more about this man, and what he has become.
The visceral level of horror works quite well here; rather than walking corpses we have infected horrors, with a mix of animal and man. This does evoke a sense of the uncaring wilderness, and growing isolation as well as creeping insanity. However, because the art-style is untidy and rough, the result is a rather confusing mess. Both the artwork and story have no depth. We don’t really care about the protagonist, the world is very thinly sketched and thus any surprises that appear hold no weight.
The thing that sets Rebel Blood apart from the crowd is also, alas, the thing that makes it not as good as it could be. Instead, it comes across as a desperate attempt to make the tale dynamic and edgy which falls flat on its face. The book works when it is simply a gore-fest and fails when tries for deeper psychological terror. The few twists and story development feel like they have been randomly generated; there is no connection between events, and no explanation or justification is given, and potentially brilliant moments are handled so poorly that they fail to have any impact.
Rebel Blood drips with as much potential as it does blood, but fails to deliver on almost every level.