"Dead of Winter #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Oni Press
Written by Kyle Starks
Illustrated by Gabo
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on October 18th, 2017
I’m trying to keep it together to tell you about Dead of Winter. The characters are fleeing for their lives from a horde of zombies and a rampaging psycho cop, but none of that matters because this comic has a dog wielding a friggin’ katana and it just might be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Sparky the Wonder Dog whips around a samurai sword, hacking and slashing his way through a bunch of walking corpses and there is just nothing else that can top that. Put a cork in 2017. We have found the most amazing sequence in comics for the whole year.
I should just stop the review because really, what else do you need to know? The survivors seek refuge in a mall because that’s a great place to hole up during a zombie apocalypse, right? Before you start shouting about Dawn of the Dead, don’t worry. Writer Kyle Starks is quick to point out how crazy it is in the introductory page of the comic, as well as within the dialogue itself.
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Dead of Winter has always had a healthy mix of horror and comedy. This issue leans a little more to the former, focusing on the characters as they try to figure out their next moves. They’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, or in this particular scenario, a psychotic police officer and a bunch of zombies.
There’s a really touching scene where one of the characters describes how she sees the world now. She used to get up and think about how she would grow old one day and her body would change and shrivel up. No one will ever grow old again. They’re either dead or about to be. This scene cuts right to the heart and really drives home the feeling of hopelessness that permeates through every zombie story, although most don’t articulate it as well as it’s shown here.
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All of this is great and offers some tender moments, but let’s get back to Sparky and the samurai sword. This debut is shown in an incredible, wordless panel perfectly illustrated by artist Gabo. Sparky leaps down from the second floor, bursting through a glass barrier to rain terror down upon the zombie horde. My jaw dropped the moment this happened. It’s so awesome.
What follows is an amazing blood-soaked battle as this dog literally cuts zombies in half. He takes out more than any of the humans put together. I love how it’s shown too, as Sparky will run past a group of the walkers, then blood splatters out in the next panel, with the third showing them falling apart. It’s like a samurai anime sequence.
Dead of Winter is making zombies fun. It’s a great read propelled by a canine main character who friggin’ hates zombies. If Sparky was in The Walking Dead, that book would have lasted like six issues because he would have ended everything right away and Rick would still have both hands.