VIETNAM ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST #1
War, as they say, is hell. As if being shipped out to a tropical inferno where death by sniper bullet can descend from every treetop, a unit of Vietnam GIs also have to contend with a rogue platoon of zombie soldiers created by a scientist who appears to be a cross between Herbert West and Tony Stark’s evil brother. Their deployment was intended to win Nixon the war, but in the best tradition of mad science being unleashed untested into a hostile environment, it has all gone horribly, horribly wrong.
Mixing 1950s war comics with 1970s horror comics, right from its opening of crimson-tinted torture Vietnam Zombie Holocaust lets us know exactly what we’re in for. Hell, even its title invokes the unrestrained glee of chaotic violence as its undead Universal Soldiers cut bloody swathes across the country, muscles and veins bulging like steroid junkies and vacant eyes utterly devoid of humanity. The result of covert and probably highly illegal biotech, they are also a hell of a lot tougher than your average walker; when one has an AK47 emptied into its face the only result is making it mildly annoyed.
The full colour adds an extra layer of intensity to the artwork, allowing us to feel the stifling humidity of Vietnam’s dense verdant jungle that hides unknown horrors both human and undead, while the multicoloured hues of a burning sunset sky provide a vibrant backdrop for the relentless carnage. There’s an overarching feel of cinematic survival horror to proceedings, with each panel perfectly capturing the kinetic frenzy of the action, while there are several actors you can easily imagine in the roles of various characters. There’s not much in the way of individual characterisation to speak of yet, but the way the platoon operates as a unit speaks volumes of their history together, while the two new recruits easily slide in alongside them.
Although grim and violent, Vietnam Zombie Holocaust doesn’t lose sight of the entertainment factor of horror. While the bloodshed is of a realistic volume, there are enough arterial sprays and viscera to satisfy gorehounds, and just to fully establish the tone the issue culminates in a battle with a scarlet-eyed zombie donkey. This is going to be a lot of fun.
INFO: VIETNAM ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST #1 / WRITER: GEORGE LENNOX / ARTIST: JAMES DEVLIN / PUBLISHER: CULT EMPIRE COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW