Publisher: Caliber Comics
Writers: Travis Gibb, Lou Graziani, Marcus H. Roberts, Alfred Paige & Jonathan Hedrick
Artists: Juan Pablo Milto, Florentino Santibanez, Dan Gorman, John Epple & Ben Worrell
Offering an enjoyable continuation of the zombie menace within the Mississippi region, Bradley Golden’s second anthology of horror centred entirely within the 32nd largest state of America certainly packs its pages with plenty of brain-chomping terror and thought-provoking adventure. Indeed, the graphic novel’s creator even goes so far as to cram in both a sequel story to this title’s original volume following a modern-day military expedition’s unwise decision to pay Horn Island a visit, as well as a couple of exciting cliff-hangers which will doubtless have this book’s buyers clamouring for more details as to when the third volume of “Mississippi Zombie” will be released.
First up is a quite delightful visit to the glorious Gulfport Beach to meet this weighty tome’s bikini-clad narrator nonchalantly drinking a fruit-laden cocktail while the long-haired decaying corpse enjoys watching some crows peck away at the remnants of a man’s dismembered cadaver. Toasty hot and glamourous in her gruesomeness, the skeletal-faced ‘babe’ sets the publication’s somewhat morbid-humoured ambiance as she encourages the local beefcake to run screaming for their lives with just her perplexing presence on the shore.
Equally as dark, though somewhat lengthier than the long-dead chronicler’s all-too brief appearance, is the personal account of Doctor Madison Wilde in “I Did It All For Him”. Penned by Travis Gibb, this penitentiary-based nightmare depicts just how the utterly deluded prisoner manages to orchestrate his largest controlled experiment to date inside an incarceration facility following the discovery that his son has been transformed into a zombie. Intriguingly drip fed details of the disgraced medical practitioner’s plan bit by bit, this gruesome yarn genuinely gets the periodical off to an enthralling start, and is arguably only let down by some of Juan Pablo Milto’s somewhat unclear, scratchy-looking panels.
Somewhat easier on the eye though is the action-packed “Butcher Brothers” written by Lou Graziani. Boiled down to its most basic level, this eleven-pager just follows the two heavily-armed siblings as they gorily tear through a horde of the undead with all-manner of close combat weapons, and debatably seems to just be an excuse for Florentino Santibanez to demonstrate his insane, slightly Rob Liefeld-like pencilling. Packed full of pulse-pounding splash panels depicting the duo mercilessly chopping up their grisly opponents into ghastly bits, it’s no wonder the tale concludes just as reinforcements arrive with the text box “to be continued…”
Setting up a strong second half for this corpse-laden compilation is “Return To Horn Island” by Marcus H. Roberts. Clearly penned as something of a sequel to “Zombie Attack On Horn Island” from this title’s previous volume, this twelve-pager rather neatly weaves America’s current obsession with building a great wall “to protect the country and its citizens” with the fate of a man whose great, great grandmother somehow managed to survive the aforementioned assault on the nation’s earliest settlers by an old witch woman. Dynamically drawn by Dan Gorman, this yarn doesn’t debatably contain any surprises for those fear-fans familiar with Roberts’ earlier adventure, as it seems clear from the very start that the military’s decision to turn the island into a safe haven for evacuees isn’t going to go down terribly well with its brain-eating inhabitants; especially when the General decides to split his forces so as to get the clearance job done in double-quick time. But it is still enormously entertaining watching as the elite seal team soon realise that their automatic weapons are no match for a horde of flesh-eating creatures who can tear a man’s still beating heart from out of his chest despite the soldier wearing advanced body armour.
Alfred Paige’s “C.H.E.S.S.: The Dead” is similarly as straightforward in its story-telling, with the Indie comic book creator penning a piece about a pair of super-skilled operatives being helicoptered into a crisis-hit chemical laboratory on a rescue mission to save a family friend of their director. Unsurprisingly, carnivorous cadavers abound throughout the ominously dilapidated facility, and need dispatching ‘toot sweet’ if Mary Maise is ever going to be located safe and well. However, it is the lead protagonist’s excellent interplay with one another alongside John Epple’s highly stylised artwork, which really makes this narrative’s opening instalment essential reading for zombie-loving maniacs.
Finally bringing this gore-filled graphic novel to an end is Jonathan Hedrick’s “Freakshow Princess”. Initially appearing to contain a quite simplistic tale of a woman and her pet dog somehow surviving the apocalypse inside their claustrophobic bungalow, courtesy of the now dead Chris’s procrastination in building the dwelling a functioning garden deck, this deeply demoralising story ends with a tragic twist which really pains the heart, and probably brought many within the book’s audience back down to Earth with a resoundingly loud bump; “The freaks found a way in! She’s starving. I have been so worried about feeding myself that I neglected her.”
You can grab yourself a copy of Mississippi Zombie Volume 2 from Amazon by CLICKING HERE.