For those of you who haven’t noticed, Double Take has put out a huge line of zombie comic books. Each one of them serving as an homage to the 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead. How closely they are related varies from issue to issue. Seeing as how I have not seen Night of the Living Dead, any Easter eggs left for die-hard fans fell on blind eyes. What I do know, however, is comic books.
Soul #5 had all the promise to be something decent, if not great. Line artists Ricardo Sanchez, Tomas Aira, and Adriano Vicente did a fair job with the book, as well as color artists Harrison Yinfaowei, Dennis Calero, and Leonardo Paciarotti. Even Michael Coast, on scripts, wrote out some reasonable dialogue. Yet, when it was all put together, something was way off the mark.
Starting the issue off with a flash-forward was way too much, and it doesn’t even make sense until you get halfway through the story. I know that this is part five of an arc, but this is a month to month story telling; you have to let your readers know what is going on during the first page. Not saying that you have to beat them over the head with it, but a little “Again, Ben is trying to escape his nightmarish time loop, but is soon found by Chief McCelland and company.” would help. There was more problems with the writing towards the end, like a comment about holding a dick, and some unnecessary banter about poached eggs, but it pales in comparison to that introductory page.
The next massive complication that I found was the pacing. I do not know if Michael is to blame for this, or the ever-changing array of artists. A great example of this can be found on pages 10-13. First of all, two back to back double splash pages are tacky; the whole point of a double splash is to give your book a powerful image to emphasize the scene; overuse just takes away the whole concept. Secondly, the pacing from panel to panel makes no sense. There is no cohesion. Which leads me to questions like, “Did Harry get knocked down on the stairs, and then get back up? Didn’t Harry take the gun? Am I supposed to jump up and down between the panels of the news interview and the basement scuffle?” These are not what you want your readers to ask. It was frustrating.
A part of the book that I did find myself get excited about was watching Ben get to try to escape from the basement again. It is a part of story telling that I enjoy, watching the protagonist learn from his mistakes to overcome an obstacle. That scene was a lot of fun.
Unfortunately that doesn’t make up for the rest of the issue. I am fine with six different artists working on one book, especially if their work is easy on the eyes. I am fine with the weird and outdated nostalgia driven theme. I am even fine with a few piece of out-of-context dialogue, but I draw the line at poor pacing. It is an aspect that, when poorly handled, can ruin your book, which it did. Unless you are a die-hard fan of Night of the Living Dead, or unless you must have every book the Double Press releases, I would not suggest buying this book. Normally I would have given two stars for the good art, but I decided to go with 2.5 since Michael did do a fun bit of character development at the end.
(W) Michael Coast (A) Ricardo Sanchez (CA) Daniel Govar