Review: Zombie War Complete / Author: Kevin Eastman, Tom Skulan / Artist: Kevin Eastman, Tom Skulan / Publisher: IDW / Release Date: March 25th
Nostalgia can be a terrible burden some times. Often the things we seem to recall being utterly wonderful turn out to be a little bit disappointing once the dust has been blown off them.
Back in 1992, Tom Skulan and Kevin Eastman produced an odd little indie comic book called Zombie War. Eastman’s previous creation, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, had already become a global phenomenon and at the time, this darker, George Romero-like action horror adventure story was seen as an attempt by Eastman to get back to his roots and produce something for more mature audiences. Given that those roots were based around the low-budget action and horror movies that were very common in the '80s, it’s quite good for what it is, but it’s the sort of thing that would appeal to those who like gore and nudity. It certainly isn’t Watchmen and lacks the depth and subtlety we associate with grown-up comic books.
The plot is the sort of trash you’d expect from zombie tales of the time; an alien being uses strange science to raise the dead, and these ghouls proceed to wreak havoc on mankind. The zombies are intelligent, violent and hard to kill. This means that humanity is pretty much doomed, though of course there’s a plucky young heroine around to sort it all out. The plot and its resolution are very, very simplistic and strongly reminiscent of its source material. It’s full of the sort of clichés that made those trash movies so much fun at the time and it’s filled with violence and the occasional pretty lady. Eastman’s art is a bit of an acquired taste; it’s blocky, dark and straight forward. Though it can hardly be described as beautiful it does have a grungy and dark appeal to it.
If you haven’t had your fill of zombies yet and have a fondness for Eastman’s early art style then grab some junk food, put on your favourite nineties rock album and indulge yourself with this odd piece of comic history. Otherwise, leave the past alone.