Max Brooks is well known amongst zombie aficionados for writing World War Z and various zombie survival guides. He doesn’t drift too far out of his comfort zone here, though he does take things a step on, viewing the zombie apocalypse genre from the point of view of a vampire.
He doesn’t paint a pretty picture of the blood-suckers. The lifestyle is glamorous and the characters are beautiful, especially pictured next to the rotting zombie plague-bearers, but they’re vacuous parasites who barely notice that their food supply might be on the wane.
Brooks builds up his characters, two female vampires who have grown up and fed together for years. They’re arrogant hunters at the top of the food chain, but through an internal monologue that makes up the majority of this script, one of the vampires slowly comes to the realisation that an enemy that threatens the whole of humanity is their enemy too, especially if it looks set to wipe out the entire human race.
This big idea doesn’t get in the way of the violence and gore. Vampires have to feed, so we see much slaughter and feasting, with humans being the dish of the day. Sometimes kills are quick and clean, other times slow and painful. Then there’s the zombies, attacking humanity from the other direction, and graphically tearing people limb from limb and feasting on their entrails. I haven’t seen so much human destruction in a comic for a while, though probably only since I read my last Avatar book. However, this is tamer horror than the likes of Crossed, because there’s barely any sexual horror; this is more like watching a natural science documentary on vampiric feeding habits.
The art supports the story well, filling the pages with shambling corpses and the horrified faces of the victims. The only relief from the blood drenched pages is when the zombies are getting their share of the punishment, and the geysers of blood are replaced by rotting flesh and decay.
Zombie and vampire fans should lap this stuff up but it’s not the kind of classic horror tale that’s enough to draw in those that don’t normally read this stuff. The twist of mixing these two horror genres doesn’t lift either to a new level.
Having said that, it’s an entertaining enough horror romp, especially if you have a taste for gore. Take it at face value and you can easily understand how Brooks has become the go-to guy for a ripping zombie yarn.