Written by Jonathan Maberry
Art by Tony Vargas
Published by IDW Publishing
Release date: November 19, 2014
Zombies are hot right now, and it seems like with the popularity of The Walking Dead, everyone’s trying to take a bite – pun definitely intended – of the market. Where many books in this genre fails though, Rot & Ruin not only succeeds, but stands out from the rest.
Rot & Ruin #3 continues our heroes journey as they continue their quest to track and find the mysterious plane they saw across the sky. In the last issue, Benny and his friends came upon a well-protected farm lead by Farmer John. With high walls and plenty of food to go around, it seems like Farmer John’s compound may offer our heroes a bit of solace in their travels, but Benny and friends are not convinced. Having grown up in a world full of rotters, and I as a long time zombie movie fan, Benny and friends have their doubts about Farmer John’s true intentions which are quickly revealed – his plan is to repopulate the world by having a stable of fertile young girls he calls “cows” constantly producing children at the hands of a few selected men he calls “bulls.” As the crew tries to escape, they are rallied in by Farmer John’s men.
While many books in this genre manage to create a realistic setting for a zombie apocalypse, they often fail at showing the true horrors that such an event would create. It’s easy to write a zombie story, but what makes a great zombie book is more than just a story about the walking dead, but rather an exploration of what makes us human and the things that we are willing to do to ensure the safety of our loved ones. Rot & Ruin does this perfectly.
With award-winning writer Jonathan Maberry at the helm, the writing in this series continues to be great. The dialogue is realistic and simple to understand, and the pacing of the book kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, especially with the reveals at the end. It’s nice to read a book that doesn’t play around the issue, but tackles it head on while keeping it entertaining.
Rot & Ruin is a comic book after all, and what can often make or break a book is the art. Tony Vargas does a terrific job on pencils creating a welcoming yet guarded feeling during the farm scenes. While the book does have dark undertones, the art is often light and airy, and Vargas makes great use of shading when it’s appropriate in order to highlight a panel.
Overall, Rot & Ruin #3 is another great issue in this series. If you want more zombie horror, then this book is one you’ll definitely want to add to your pull list.