Just when I thought I’d seen just about everything that could be done with zombies (see here), along comes a new ongoing series from Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood, Zombies vs. Robots. With that title and creative pedigree, this is sure to be a wild ride, indeed.
If you’re familiar with Wood’s work on World War Robot, a lot of the machine designs will definitely look familiar, but the tone of this book is totally different from that mostly somber epic. ZvR has its own morbid bits, yes, but mostly it’s a dark comedy, focused on snarky, sentient robots, the remains of humanity and of course, the living dead. Not the protoypical comedic blend, but that’s the strength of the book; taking apparently disparate parts, blending them together and feeding the audience an (un)wholesome take on the zombie apocalypse trope.
ZvR picks up a year after the original story left off; the nuclear bombs have exploded, there are very few humans left on Earth and yet, somehow, the zombies keep coming. From somewhere. That mystery is the driving element in the first issue, one that is explored with equal parts suspense and satire.
The story is told from the perspective of Dronebot Oris-1, sent back to Earth to determine the status of the decimated planet. Instead of a purely scientific, unemotional and largely sanitized observer, Oris-1 is anything but; the robot is full of quips and self-awareness that make its bleak outlook on Earth’s future prospects inappropriately funny.
I mentioned earlier that the robot designs will definitely be recognizable to WWR fans, but beyond that ZvR has its own panache. The haphazard style, with heavy shadows and thick sketch lines, really sell the end of days theme well. The alternation between monochromes and surprisingly vivid colors make the comic a real treat for the eyes from beginning to end.
The previous series and now this opening issue have set the bar pretty high and I’m eager to see how the story develops from here.