Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Mocking Dead Volume 1 Review (Fred Van Lente, Max Dunbar)

I was really excited to see this - finally someone’s written a parody of The Walking Dead comic!, I thought. I looked at the back and saw that the zombies (or “zeds” as they’re known here) are all laughing, in sharp contrast to Robert Kirkman’s ridiculously miserable series, and that The Mocking Dead is written by Fred Van Lente, author of the excellent Archer and Armstrong over at Valiant. This could potentially be a laugh riot - but it’s not, and it’s also not a parody of The Walking Dead either. Yeah, pretty disappointing.

The Mocking Dead is instead just another zombie comic with the only difference being the zombies are all laughing for no reason. The zombie apocalypse has happened and it’s up to a pair of geeks who’re bizarrely put in charge of solving the crisis by the US military. One of the geeks, Bunch (awful name), decides the answer to the problem lies in a long-forgotten B-movie called The Mocking Dead and sets out to hunt down the only remaining copy.

Our two geeky protagonists are really annoying. Bunch is a D&D geek who’s mad at Malik, the girl, who’s left behind the geek clothes and “sold out” to dress like a grown up with a grown up job. He tells her off for being a “fake geek girl” and she tells him off for being a manchild - they bicker like this the entire book. They are a pair of irritating twits I kept hoping were going to be killed off gruesomely but weren’t - Van Lente likes referencing geek culture too much and needs them alive to do that.

I didn’t buy the setup either - why did the military hire some geeks to “study” pop culture and prepare for potential fictional setups? And why would they not know what to do in a zombie apocalypse scenario anyway? Hasn’t everyone seen or read at least one zombie story and know instinctively what to do? They’re not a niche genre, zombies are freakin’ everywhere! And the conclusion of this geek group’s “studies”? Use flamethrowers. Wow, I’m sure the military never would’ve thought to do that, they only have the biggest cache of weapons in the world!

Bunch and Malik knock about until they find the film and then? The story just peters out with the cop out caption “End?”. For me it is as I’m not interested in finding out what this pair of idiots did next and whether they saved the world or not.

The Mocking Dead is a wasted opportunity. Readers, like me, are going to pick it up hoping it’ll be a funny, entertaining comic full of jabs at The Walking Dead and come away totally let down at the sub-standard zombie story you get instead. It really is just like every other zombie story you’ve read. And with Van Lente writing you’d hope for a few laughs at least but no, his weak attempts at comedy fall flat.

I’d love to have read a parody comic of The Walking Dead but unfortunately The Mocking Dead is not that.

The Mocking Dead Volume 1

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