Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Chris Ryall
Artist: Ashley Wood
Release Date: 27th April 2022
Somewhat moving away from this mini-series’ purely science fiction-based narrative where the modern-day world has been ravaged by a post-apocalyptic battle for survival between gun-toting automatons and hordes of the hungry Undead, for a much more science fantasy storyline, “Group Sects” certainly seems to contain far more bodily mutilation and flesh-devouring shenanigans than the reprint’s previous two instalments. But whilst this particular sixty-six-page saga catapults its audience into the semi-mythical world of Ancient Greece and a race of scantily clad Amazons that have somehow managed to survive being decimated by nukes, it still contains Chris Ryall’s usual enthralling combination of edge-of-the-seat dramatics and silly, laugh-out-loud moments.
Foremost of these fascinations is the speed with which the Grecian Isle filled with warrior women fatally falls to the zombies following Princess Dhysa’s innocent opening of the community’s protective barrier during a misguided demonstration of adolescent angst. One moment the reader is arguably as shocked as the seventeen-year-old is at her discovery as to what Queen Leolyta’s mysterious ritual actually is, and then in the next, most of the unsuspecting and unarmed Amazons are being eaten alive by a veritable swarm of walking cadavers: “No… My Queen… The seal to the catacombs below, it’s been broken wide.”
Equally as nerve-wracking as this shameful slaughter is the sudden appearance of the sole robot responsible for peppering the planet’s surface with atomic missiles, and his subsequent battle with an Undead minotaur. This pulse-pounding clash genuinely helps ‘break-up’ the potentially overwhelming amount of graphically depicted killings occurring inside the ‘Royal Palace’ with some genuinely amusing moments; most notably when the self-serving, bullet-shaped android realises that the savage creature is perfectly capable of head-butting him into electronic pieces if he doesn’t get some much-needed help from the children he’s been trying to protect.
Helping to present the sheer chaos contained within Ryall’s violent tale of destruction is Ashley Wood’s scratchily sketched artwork, which really helps sell the grotesque nature of the human-chomping carry-ons taking place throughout this book. In addition, the award-winning illustrator adds a layer of sensuality and bare-faced nudity to its proceedings which ties-in with the stereotypical mythology of the female combatants. But may well disconcert those bibliophiles who don’t enjoy too much blatant sexual activity in their comics.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]