Comic Book Review – Night of the Living Dead: New York

Night of the Living Dead: New York

Context
Zombies in the Big Apple!

Story
Our story picks up around eight days after the end of the Night of the Living Dead film. It seems that some kind of effort has been made to repel the zombies at the end of the movie. So instead of just showing what happened in New York during the events of the film, the writers tell a story where we must assume that these efforts have failed – no other explanation is given. The premise itself is an excellent example of the poor choices these writers make throughout the story.

The central plot involves a pair of tourists and a band of thugs that look like refugees from Double Dragon. No clear reference is made to the time period involved until ten pages in, when one of the thugs complains that there can be no military response to the zombies because of the war in Vietnam. No character in the book has a clear motivation other than base survival. All of the dialogue is unbearably stiff. The thugs are almost comical in their portrayal. They save a group of people on the streets at gunpoint and then repeatedly threaten them and each other. They eventually shoot one of the people they seem to want to protect. These aren’t characters, they are just victims.

I know that zombie movies may not be the place to find detailed plots with rich character development but this book doesn’t even ape what George Romero did in his film. There is no build to a climactic and ironic finish. There is no steady and inevitable creep of tension inherent in zombie tales. You do get a little of the clichéd debate over what is the best path to survival. There is even the classic horror device of the image of a nude woman – first appearing to attract the reader, then later to repulse the reader. I love the idea of a sequel of sorts in an urban setting but the opportunity is just wasted. It even takes itself too seriously to be considered camp…and I almost got through this portion of the review without talking about the typo on page two.

Art
The art isn’t horrible. Unfortunately, that is about as good as it gets with this book. This artist could have easily been found on a fill in issue for a Marvel or DC book in the 80’s or 90’s. In general, the figures come off pretty stiff but still objects and backgrounds are done well. There are some brief glimmers here and there and he clearly enjoys drawing gore. The colors and lettering were well done and something you would expect in any current comic.

This story is set in the 60’s. Once I realized this, I went back and looked at the clothes and cars again. That’s when I noticed that they were supposed to be within period. There was an attempt here but the artist just didn’t get the point across when he could have fixed a real problem with the storytelling. Even something over the top 60’s in the first panel would have given us a clue as to our setting.

What to look for
Gory depictions of zombies eating their victims

What might put you off
Everything else

Recommendation
I almost recommended this for people that want to see comic book gore but I am sure there is better elsewhere – avoid it.

Credits

Title Night of the Living Dead: New York
Issue Number One Shot
Publisher Avatar
Release Date 3/18/2009
Writer John Russo and Mike Wolfer
Art Fabio Jansen
Color Digikore Studios

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