"28 Days Later: Volume 5 - Ghost Town" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by BOOM! Studios
Written by Michael Alan Nelson
Illustrated by Ron Salas and Alejandro Aragon
2011, 114 Pages
Trade Paperback published on September 20th, 2011
The comic bridging the gap between 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later continues in Volume 5, Ghost Town. It's now down to just Selena, one of the survivors from the first film, and Clint, an intrepid reporter looking to get the story of his life. The pair are still struggling to make their way to London so Clint can write an article for a newspaper. I'm seriously questioning why they've gone to the lengths they have and sacrificed the other members of their party to write something that will be published in a paper that will be read by six old people and then used to line bird cages or wrap up fish. It seems like a bit of a waste.
Anyway, there's been a weird military man stalking Selena for the past few issues. He hasn't been able to catch up to her but he's made his presence felt. It's pretty obvious that he has some ties to the soldiers that held Selena captive in the film, intending to rape her. We finally find out that connection in this volume and that plot point is tied up pretty definitively. Unfortunately, it feels very rushed, as if author Michael Alan Nelson was suddenly told that he has to wrap up the comic in the next few issues, forcing him to close that loop sooner than expected. This is disappointing because it's set up to be a very interesting villain for Selena and certainly one that is her peer in wits and badassery. Instead the feud ends before it even begins.
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The events of Ghost Town accelerate the characters along their path to bring them to the point where 28 Weeks Later begins. The pair are closer than ever to their goal, but even if they achieve it, they might not gain the closure that they both desperately need. Selena has some pretty severe post-traumatic stress, both from the ordeal she went through in the first film and from the loss of her husband. She's had flashbacks to the happy times she shared with the man before England was invaded by the Infected and it's clear that his death deeply affected her. Clint, on the other hand, is clinging to this story as the one and only purpose in his life. He has nothing else going for him and if he gives up at this point, he'll probably just keel over and die.
The artwork on this volume is split between two artists with Ron Salas handling the first chapter and Alejandro Aragon drawing the remaining pages. Their styles are similar enough to avoid confusion. Both have occasional issues with facial features, where the character's head is too large for their nose, mouth, and eyes. There's nothing that really stands out about the artwork with Ghost Town. It does its job to move the story along and there wasn't anything that really jumped out. It's adequate.
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28 Days Later is definitely winding down, but after five trade paperbacks it's hard to justify the lengths that Selena and Clint are going to return to London. Yes, the world has gone on, essentially forgetting the fact that England has been quarantined due to raging cannibals infected with a anger management issues, but why not wait a year or two and film a documentary? Going through all this trouble to write a newspaper article is rather excessive, especially considering how many people within their own party have died and how many others they've either seen die or have had to kill along the way. I'm sure even Woodward and Bernstein would have thrown in the towel facing those odds.