"High Fructose Zombies #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Potent Press
Written by David Phillips
Illustrated by Sarah Braly
2013, 28 Pages
As a child, you hear about all kinds of things that will rot your brain. Television is up there, but what might rival the boob tube is candy. Sweet, sweet candy. Of course, we never thought those adults would be correct. That's the case in indie comic High Fructose Zombies from David Phillips and Sarah Braly. The evil Yumzy Corporation has released their Snak Attack candy bars and it turns out that the treat turns you into a mindless zombie. That's not stopping them from mass producing the product, though. Now Clea, a former employee of the Yumzy Clubhouse, has set out to put a stop to them before they can ruin any more lives.
We already got a peek into the awesome adventures of Clea with the first issue of High Fructose Zombies, which debuted at NYCC last year. Issue #2 picks up with the aftermath of the first Snak Attack breakout and its subsequent coverup. Outraged, Clea has gathered a small group of like-minded individuals to take the fight to Yumzy.
This issue gives us a look into Clea's dysfunctional home life. There's a deadbeat step-dad and an overweight, lazy mother. Somehow through this, our hero perseveres and tries to follow a healthy lifestyle. This is the aspect of High Fructose Zombies that almost loses me. It can get a little preachy sometimes, extolling the benefits of a vegan diet and showing how bad mass-produced food from companies like Yumzy can be for you. Readers that have seen Super Size Me will see a similar thread. In many ways, Yumzy can be substituted for McDonalds. If the violence was lessened a bit, this could be a comic for kids about healthy food choices.
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Sarah Braly's artwork is a perfect fit for the story of High Fructose Zombies. The characters are slightly cartoonish but can easily kick ass when need be. They can occasionally look a little flat, though. Additionally, the art direction is pretty great. Braly has an eye for layouts, framing the panels in interesting ways and often having backgrounds bleed between scenes. There's a page where Clea returns home to find her house ransacked. The top panel is a wide shot showing the overall carnage while the bottom ones have the debris and grease dripping down from above. It's a nice touch.
As with the previous issue, I'd love to see what Braly's artwork would look like in color. The world of the Yumzy Corporation is (presumably) filled with bright, vibrant colors, so seeing it in stark black and white is a disservice to the book. Fortunately, the creators will release a color version once the limited edition run of this issue has been sold.
High Fructose Zombies is a tongue-in-cheek comic with a message. It's refreshing to see a zombie story that doesn't take itself too seriously, but can still drive home a good story. I'm looking at you, Marvel Zombies. This issue moves the story forward and really gives Clea a reason to rebel against the Yumzy Corporation that's more than just her dietary lifestyle. Things look like they're only going to get crazier from here as Clea and her gang head into the Yumzy theme park.
At this time, High Fructose Zombies can only be purchased online via the official website or direct from the creators at a comic convention. Check it out!