Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Chris Ryall
Artist: Ashley Wood
Release Date: 22nd June 2022
Providing its readers with a story taken from the only Zombies Verses Robots Annual, as well as the ten-part “Tales Of ZvR”, this super-sized reprint certainly contains plenty of content for those fans new to Chris Ryall and Ashley Woods’ vision of a post-apocalyptic world where large, heavily-armed automatons wage an eternal war against large hordes of the walking undead. Indeed, despite its relative brevity, “Winter” tells such a disconcerting tale about a team of subsisting scientists cold-heartedly sacrificing their less-intellectual brethren to a mass of flesh-hungry cadavers in a supposed effort to save Humanity from the plague, that it is probably worth this publication’s cover price alone.
Furthermore, the narrative is told in such a clever way that it initially appears that the semi-malfunctioning machines who locate the underground laboratory are going to be the villains of piece rather than its inhabitants; especially when the ‘idiotic’ androids completely blow up the bunker’s reinforced steel entranceway rather than permit the coverall-wearing survivors the time needed to open it manually. Such a subversion of expectations genuinely adds to the horror of the situation as its slowly revealed to the gun-toting machines that the researchers are murderously feeding people ‘without doctorates’ to their ghoulish experiments, and any sympathy generated for the frustrated professors in having to negotiate with their paranoid programmed rescuers quickly evaporates.
Disappointingly however, unlike this limited series’ previous three instalments which contained an enjoyable combination of both fresh material and stories that haven’t seen the light of day in a decade, this periodical perturbingly feels simply like the Eisner Award-nominated duo just haphazardly grabbed some of their newer stuff and sixteen of the Australian artist’s splash-page illustrations in a desperate effort to pad out a fourth book. So seemingly desperate a sales ploy will be genuinely frustrating to those bibliophiles who already own the pair’s “ZvR” title from 2015, particularly as the selected tale about a boy aimlessly wandering around his featureless local landscape with his pet droid is probably the least interesting of the storylines seen within that series; “No c’mon, boy, time to go be brave adventurers! I bet we won’t run into any trouble at all…”
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]