"FUBAR: Volume 2 - Empire of the Rising Dead" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Alterna Comics
Edited by Jeff McComsey, Jorge Vega, and Steve Becker
2012, 274 Pages
Graphic Novel released on January 11th, 2012
In case you were one of the many people that read FUBAR: European Theater of the Damned and wondered what was going on on the Pacific front, wonder no more. FUBAR II: Empire of the Rising Dead answers that question in spades. We get a ton of stories showing just what happens when the Allies and the Axis have more than just each other to deal with. There's a third side to this war and it's undead. Zombies in World War II!
As with the previous volume of FUBAR, Empire of the Rising Dead is an anthology, collecting a variety of tales from all over the war with Japan. Each story ranges in size but is usually no more than 10 pages. You're provided with views from both sides of the war and even a story or two from the point of view of a zombie.
I'd expect that like most anthologies, this comic would have some highs and lows, but there's not a weak story in the bunch. Each one is a high quality tale with a good story and great art. That's tough to accomplish, especially since this volume has over 100 more pages than the last one.
I could sit here and spout out all the stories that stood out, but I'd be here forever. I can mention a few that were easily favorites though. Sorgie's Choice, written by Jennie Wood and drawn by Jim McMunn, is a nice tale of a rookie sailor and the veterans around him that are clearly not prepared for the zombie apocalypse. Your typical hazing of the rookie isn't going to work now when the dead start to rise. Unit 731 by Mark Bertolini with art by Carl Yonder is a very dark tale showing the Japanese experimenting with the zombie virus. It's a chilling story and one that will haunt you long after reading it.
There are a number of themes that pop up in many of the stories too. A couple of them tweaked the idea of the atom bomb. Instead of sending down a nuclear weapon, just drop a big crate filled with zombies. At least that way you avoid all that pesky radiation and property damage. Just about all of the stories have a Tales from the Crypt type twist to them. Someone either doesn't pay attention or doesn't realize the severity of the situation they're in until it's too late and then they pay the price with their lives.
Although I love zombies as much as the next guy, I would not recommend reading this book in one sitting. It can get old fast as you see countless zombies get their heads chopped off and an equal amount of soldiers develop a taste for human flesh. The upside to this is that FUBAR II is a perfect bathroom book. This is the kind of thing you can pick up and read a few stories while you're on the crapper.
If you're in the mood for a ton of zombie slaying action in a historical setting, FUBAR II: Empire of the Rising Dead is right up your alley. There is a huge variety of talent here from many up-and-coming writers and artists in the comic industry. Just be careful not to bite off more than you can chew (HAR HAR!).