By George Romero, Dalibor Talajic, Rick Magyar, Goran Sudzuka & Rain Beredo
One can’t help but envision this story as another classic Romero zombie film while reading it. Even the comic is broken into acts like a film’s narrative structure. The vampires are on the verge of being revealed to the public and New York City is about to come under siege. The conclusion of Act Two signals the entry into the climactic finale by a horror master.
Of course, one of the key elements George Romero is known for is social commentary/subtext expressed through the genre and Empire of the Dead is no exception. The primary focus in this story is the government and how it carries out its agenda and affairs. Details like this make the material relevant and timely. It’s no surprise vampires hold the key positions in this supposed utopia. Then there’s the evolution of the zombie; so many interpretations of the undead have permeated several mediums. Seeing the godfather of the subgenre continue to develop and deconstruct what has been established is quite a trip.
Alex Maleev and Matt Hollingsworth handled the artwork in Act One, so it’s definitely a challenge to follow a team as established as they are. Dalibor Talajic’s pencils are definitely cleaner and make the actions and transitions easier to follow, which is a plus. Inkers Rick Magyar and Goran Sudzuka and colorist Rain Beredo all work to enhance that style. The lines and shadows are very defined and the colors are crisp. All-in-all solid artwork and many readers will be pleased with it, but it feels like the panels are missing an edge to them that the material calls for.
People who are reading this series are already plot committed at this point, so it’s worth it to see the title through to its conclusion. Those who are just now hearing about this work, pick up the trade of Act One, as starting with this issue would be detrimental to the experience, since it is the second act of a three act story. George A. Romero is an adept storyteller and this issue is another great example of that fact.