By Jonathan Maberry, Tony Vargas and Oliver Le Arce
Zombies continue to be a big trend among comic book communities, and author Jonathan Maberry takes a stab at writing the genre with Rot & Ruin. While the Walking Dead has set a very high standard for how a zombie book should be, several other books have tried to capitalize on this popularity with little success. Perhaps Maberry and company can offer a fresh take on it.
There isn’t really anything special about Rot & Ruin to be honest. While it’s only been one issue, it wasn’t anywhere near the best zombie book to hit the stands this week. Jonathan Maberry’s script isn’t very enthralling; in fact, almost everything is spelled out for us. Perhaps it’s the idea of 4 teenagers running around the woods trying to be samurais, or the fact that we don’t particularly care about any of them, but this first issue falls pretty flat. The internal narration is repetitive and doesn’t really offer many new things that would make a reader choose this title over the Walking Dead. This honestly reads like a script for a zombie show that could be on the CW. Maberry is a good writer, but this is by no means his best work.
The art is handled by Tony Vargas with colors by Oliver Le Arce. For the most part the art is fine, it lacks anything that really stands out in a positive way, it’s honestly just business as usual. There is an annoying bloody sword that cuts some of the page off as it trickles down the flashback scenes. This is unnecessary and absolutely takes away from the story. Vargas doesn’t do a bad job on the art by any means, but he just doesn’t do a great job. There are hundreds of other artists that would be able to do this issue exactly like he does. Vargas seems to lack uniqueness in his style to set it apart from anyone else. Other than that, the zombies look fine, the characters look good, but they don’t pop enough or stand out. A decent effort, but Vargas would benefit from developing some uniqueness.
As far as first issues go, Rot & Ruin was a bit rough. There really wasn’t much that would make a reader want to come back and read more about these characters. Maybe Jonathan Maberry just needs to find his groove first, which is very possible. The art needs to distinguish itself from the many other books that look exactly the same as well. Hopefully things pick up next issue or this will be another book that goes unnoticed on the shelf.