Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Empire of the Dead, Act One Review (George Romero, Alex Maleev)


George Romero’s first three zombie movies are classics of the genre: Night/Dawn/Day of the Living Dead are great films (the latter is more of a stretch but it’s still very decent). But Romero’s last three zombie films - Land/Diary/Survival of the Dead? Turdtacular movies. It’s like Romero is trying to do everything he can to dismantle his legacy with those bad zombie movies!

And with Empire of the Dead, Act One (which I’m guessing every movie studio he pitched it to turned down so he sold it to Marvel as a comic because The Walking Dead sells, eh?), I just wish he’d retire and let the Dead series die.

So what’s the gimmick this time around? Vampires! Because the kids love the vampires, right? Uh… maybe a few years ago, but they’re kinda played out at this point. Like zombies. Some of whom can now think and retain parts of their humanity despite having turned. Oh wooooow, I don’t care!

The vampires are the secret rulers of post-zombie apocalypse New York. They keep the survivors entertained by having zombies fight each other in gladiatorial combat. And that’s it basically. Still awake? Didn’t Walking Dead do something similar in the Governor storyline minus the vampires?

Alex Maleev’s semi-realistic art is a good fit to bring the horror of Romero’s script to life and I always enjoy Matt Hollingsworth’s colours, but the art team’s work is the only part of this book that’s any good. Romero’s writing just stinks.

The threadbare plot is full of non-characters and dull storylines you couldn’t care less about. There’s a power struggle between one irritating vampire and another. One human “character” is starting to figure out that the mayor is a vampire. There’s a zombie police officer that’s trying to do something. BO-RING!

Romero’s completely out of ideas at this point (and arguably has been for at least 25 years!) and he can’t make me care one bit about anything that’s happening in this book.

George, our culture owes you for the whole zombie thing. Night of the Living Dead in 1968 kicked off the craze that continues to this day, and that’s a good thing because there’s a lot of great zombie movies/comics/books out there as a result. But Empire of the Dead, Act One proves that you’ve run the franchise into the ground and you need to stop - it’s getting embarrassing.

I wouldn’t recommend this one even for zombie comic book fans who enjoy titles like The Walking Dead or Marvel Zombies. Stay away from Empire of the Dead, you can still save yourselves - you don’t want to get infected like meeee!!

Empire of the Dead, Act One

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