Friday, 18 October 2013

Plants Vs Zombies: Lawnmageddon by Paul Tobin and Ron Chan Review

Plants Vs Zombies is one of the most addictive, entertaining games I’ve ever played. I played the first game to death, doing the challenges long after I’d completed the game (several times) and not a day goes by since Plants Vs Zombies 2 has been released where I don’t play at least one game of it (that damn Treasure Yeti’s lunchbox!). I love this gaming series, it’s so much fun. 

The flip side is that the popularity of the game spawns further iterations of the franchise in other media, in this case a comic book version of Plants Vs Zombies written by Paul “Bandette” Tobin, the go-to guy for writing kid-friendly comics. It might be because this comic is clearly aimed at younger readers, but I could not get through it despite it being a short book of not even 100 pages. 

The story – and I use the term loosely – is about a small town suddenly being invaded by zombies. A boy and a girl – because everyone else has disappeared, maybe they’re the zombies? I don’t know, I didn’t read far enough ahead but I doubt it – are the last line of defence against the hilariously dressed horde. Or are they? The girl’s uncle turns out to be Crazy Dave, the guy wearing a saucepan, who has been experimenting on plants and created a ton of mutant plants, all of which are scattered about town and are taking down the zombies. It’s up to the kids to marshal the plants in an epic showdown against the zombies. 

The story, as far as I read it, was the kids running about town, encountering a type of zombie – and all of the plants and zombies used are from the first game, not the second – and then a plant showing up to kill it. This was repeated again, and again, and again, until I couldn’t go on any more. The novelty of seeing the plants and zombies that I know so well in a comic wore off a few pages in and after that I was left with the no-plot story and weak jokes. After struggling to keep my interest for nearly half the book I put it down and down it shall remain. 

This isn’t entirely Tobin’s fault – Plants Vs Zombies is a tower defence game, it’s all about the gameplay and it doesn’t require a story. But transfer the game into a medium that requires a narrative and you can only do so much with what you’ve got. Plants Vs Zombies – the title is the story, like Snakes on a Plane, but it’s also not an interesting story. Fun to play, boring to read. 

The Devil May Cry and Assassin’s Creed comics are awful, the Street Fighter comics are pretty poor, and added to the bunch is Plants Vs Zombies. Great games do not make great comics.

Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon

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