"Dedication: Checked Out" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Double Take
Written by Matthew Summo, Mike Soviero, Bill Jemas, and Michael Coast
Illustrated by Young Heller, JJ Dzialowski, Dean Kotz, Ezequiel Ferreira de Assis, Juan Frigeri, Adriano Vicente, and Elton Thomas
Colored by Leonardo Paciarotti
2016, 144 Pages
Trade paperback released on September 28th, 2016
I worked at a drug store for five years. As I was stocking shelves or handling the cash register, I often thought about crazy scenarios to help pass the time. How many paper towels would be required for a fort? What else can I put in the box crusher? How would I survive in this store during a zombie apocalypse? That last one comes into play a bit in Dedication, part of Double Take's line of comics spinning out of George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. The book centers on George's Supermarket, located in Evans County, Pennsylvania, when the dead begin walking the earth.
At first, this sounds like it could be rather exciting. A supermarket has enough food and assorted items to keep a number of people safe for some time. If you've ever read or watched Stephen King's The Mist, you know that it can be a great place to set a horror story. This would be true if the employees at George's were normal in any way, shape, or form.
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The 1960s were a different time and people were definitely more polite than they are now. That being said, if a group of people broke my store's front window and started eating everything in sight without paying for it, I'd be pissed off regardless of what year it was. That's what happens here. The employees don't even try to stop these lunatics from barging in and having their way with the food in the store.
Even George himself is seemingly unaffected by these monsters tearing up his wares, even though moments before he was yelling at his employees to make sure they didn't waste any product. George takes advantage of the chaos in the town to perform a real estate coup, taking over local businesses. This puts him on par with Lex Luthor in the Superman movies, so maybe George is the real villain of these books.
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As with the other Double Take titles, there seems to be something missing in the story, as if pages are left out of the book. Characters start acting strangely – or in this case, stranger than they already are – and weird new elements are added without explanation. This time around, we've got some folks that can change their appearance seemingly at will and others that can lose body parts and re-attach them like it was nothing. Again, none of this is explained in the slightest.
Speaking of the body part re-attaching, this is actually my favorite sequence in Dedication. A zombie makes his way up to the roof where a handful of employees are hiding out. They manage to slap the door on his hand, severing it at the wrist. We then follow the hand as it gets up, walks over to the ledge, jumps down a drainpipe, crawls back into the store, and finds its owner again. It's a great and certainly unique set of panels that definitely stands out in the book.
Dedication has the makings of a great horror comic, but quickly makes a turn into Crazy Town, losing any semblance of a story. It goes from a supermarket under siege by zombies to a real estate takeover to some sort of hippie collective getting attacked by a local militia. There's no real connecting tissue between any of these things, which left me confused and frustrated.