"Ghoul Scouts: Night of the Unliving Undead #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Action Lab Entertainment
Written by Steve Bryant
Illustrated by Mark Stegbauer
Colored by Jason Millet
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 6th, 2016
A handful of scouts have found themselves on the quest for the toughest merit badge ever. They must survive the zombie apocalypse armed only with a potato gun, a slingshot, and not much else. After fighting their way through the hordes of the undead, they come across the town of Full Moon Hollow, where non-zombies are short in supply.
What's strange about Ghoul Scouts is how all of this has happened in a single night. Somehow, the dead have risen and/or normal people have been turned into zombies to the point where their noses have rotted off and their clothes are little more than tatters. The town is in shambles. I had the same problem with Junior Braves, which had a similar premise. Society shouldn't crumble so quickly. In the case of Ghoul Scouts, this might have something to do with Full Moon Hollow being “America's Paranormal Capitol.”
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This is an all-ages book, so the zombies don't pose any real danger to the kids, nor do the kids seem to do any damage to the undead. It's like an all human version of Plants vs. Zombies. None of them even get close enough to grab or swipe at the scouts. Instead, they basically lumber around moaning like people in line for Black Friday sales. They are pretty well defined though, thanks to Mark Stegbauer's artwork. No two zombies look alike.
This is not quite the case with the main characters. They don't have much in the way of detail. What does shine through is just how innocent these kids are. Despite the fact that they've come face-to-face with the undead, they have this naivety in their eyes. They keep catching themselves sharing stories or cracking jokes before they're reminded of their harsh new reality. I can't really tell any of them apart yet. Sure, they all look different, but I couldn't tell you their names or what makes them unique. For now it's just things like “tall girl” and “leather jacket kid.”
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There's one sequence that at first seems rather chilling, but then immediately loses its wind. The kids are running through the town, banging on doors trying to find any other people. They're at one house when the lights turn out. My immediate thought was that the people in the house shut the lights off in an effort to take attention away from them. The next page shows that the power has gone out in the entire town, so it was nothing as cold.
Ghoul Scouts has a great setup, but lacks follow through. It's rather tame, even for an all-ages comic. We don't know how or why the dead have risen and that's not entirely necessary for the comic (see also, The Walking Dead). However, we're not invested with these characters or their situation, so it's tough to care about them, especially when the zombies don't appear threatening at all. Right now, the worst they've done is set a car on fire and I'm not certain they were the ones responsible in the first place.