By Frank Tieri, Oleg Okunev, and Rob Schwager
Fiat Lux. Let there be light. Pestilence is a new series by Frank Tieri and Oleg Okunev that gives us an alternate version of the events surrounding the black plague of the 14th century. In this story it was not a disease but an infection of zombies sweeping across the land. The Fiat Lux, a group of mercenaries hired by the church, must bring light back into the world by somehow stopping them.
Does the world need another zombie story? When it is set in a different time period and a different part of the world the answer is, yes. Frank Tieri has given us a great introduction into his version of the 14th century world. He wastes no time in throwing us into the action and sets the zombie apocalypse into full gear by the end of the book. He has put together a fun team of holy warriors to go up against the enemy. We have most of issue #1 to get to know them and discover what kind of men they are. Having met them outright the reader may have judged them as being pretty rough around the edges. However, they are introduced in stark contrast to the evilness of another group of men and so they appear as a light in the darkness. Individually each seems to have a fleshed out backstory and, as a whole, there is a comfortable vibe holding them together. Giving us this relationship between the soldiers of light Tieri has done a great job at making the reader care for the group, so that when something dangerous happens to them there is cause for concern.
Okunev’s style is a good choice for the tone of this book. Even though it is a zombie apocalypse the writing is more on the comic book side than a straight up horror story. The artwork is much the same too, but that is not to say that it isn’t gory, evil, or scary in the right places. The zombies are drawn exceedingly gory and look like they are just falling apart. The heroes all drawn rugged and battle weary with very nicely designed costumes. He has done a great job of giving each character their own look and are easy to differentiate. Although the story is dark, there’s not an excess of blacks and, in fact, spot inks are used sparingly. There are a couple of panels where the main character is set against a pure dark background and creates a lot of drama for the moment. Rob Schwager’s coloring is good, especially when giving added depth to some of the different surfaces. The chain mail, wood, and stones are all given more texture by the coloring. Schwager’s use of changing background hues adds more drama to the feel of the scene. Overall, the art is very good and makes a good match for the story.
Tieri and Okunev have put together an action filled, and different zombie story. Tieri has written a great start to what promises to be a fun zombie killing adventure with just the right amount of danger for the heroes. Okunev’s art is the perfect complement for this story and the reader should enjoy all the little details. Pick up this issue because Pestilence promises to bring light to the darkness of the run-of-the-mill zombie apocalypse.