Review – Dead Day #2 (AfterShock Comics)

Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Evgeniy Bornyakov
Colours: Juancho!
Lettering: Charles Pritchett
Release Date: 19th August 2020

The dead rise and Melissa continues her journey into a past that would perhaps be better staying buried. Meanwhile, Brandon sneaks out to experience his first Dead Day with Zack and Lilly.

I’m honestly not sure how I’d categorise this AfterShock Comics series. It’s horror, it’s a crime story, it’s a family drama, and it kind of defies being pigeonholed. It is, however, a really good story with some twists and beats that elevate it from “just another zombie series”.

There are some interesting dilemmas raised in this story. Obviously people are rising from the dead, and not as George A. Romero-esque shambling, brain-obsessed monsters, but as sentient, reasoning, feeling people. This has pros and cons, of course. There are those who were good and caring in life but there are also those who were petty, devious and violent and for whom death has effectively freed them from a fear of repercussions or, well, death.

So how do you Police those that return on Dead Day? How do you stop those that were bent on chaos and destruction in life from continuing on this course of worse in death? And how do you differentiate the two when they rise for one night a year?  As we’ve seen over the course of the first two issues, old relationships and enmities cross the bounds of life and death, and while Melissa seems conflicted about why she has gone along with Jeremy, it is clear that Remy means to exact some measure of revenge for his death.

The “Lifers”, a vigilante group that patrols on Dead Day and stops the dead from wreaking havoc are extremely reminiscent of the Minutemen that have taken it upon themselves to police the Mexican border, and both Parrot and Bornyakov do a great job of making their creation just as repellent and unjustifiably arrogant.

But interestingly enough, even they aren’t what’s most disturbing about this series. What I found to be most disturbing are those who seem to treat the day as some sort of theme park tour, or who seem to be forming a religious cult around the day. There is something morally bankrupt about this kind of person, and invariably, these are the people that get everyone else killed in pretty much every horror movie or story I’ve ever seen or read.

The artwork in this series is pretty good throughout, and I do like that for the most part the dead are not shown as monstrous. In fact, on a lot of occasions they are shown as simply trying to fit in, to enjoy the day that has been given back to them. It makes the actions of others, particularly those of the living and supposedly upright, seem much more unpleasant and abrasive.

There has been a lot of world building and character development in the last two issues which is starting to make the series drag a little, but it looks like the narrative is moving towards a bit more action and tension, which I’m grateful for because there’s a lot to like in this series. That said, and if you’ll pardon the pun, this series does need a bit of life injected into it to keep it interesting moving forwards.

Rating: 3.5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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