"Key of Z #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert
Illustrated by Aaron Kuder
2011, 23 Pages
Comic released on November 16th, 2011
Click images to enlarge.
After giving us a brief set up to the post-zombie apocalypse Manhattan in the first issue, Key of Z continues with some more background and an interesting twist. The gang war gets much larger and we find out what happened to Ewing's family and what's up with that harmonica of his. The vast majority of this issue is a flashback, filling in the gaps with some of the stuff that was left unsaid in the first issue.
The idea of rival gangs setting up shop in different areas of New York City is a good one. The politics between them make for an intriguing power play as each has an idea of how things should be run now that the dead have risen. As with most zombie stories, the survivors are the real focus and the real threat. This is emphasized by the harsh actions of gang leader Lavoe in this issue.
After the stellar introduction to Ewing in the first book, I was disappointed that he wasn't front and center in this one. I still think Key of Z is his story, but he wasn't the emphasis here, which was rather surprising considering the weird reveal about his harmonica. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that it's something I've never seen in any zombie story and I can't wait to find out more info on it.
Aaron Kuder's art continues to impress. Although most of this issue takes place inside, he found interesting ways to incorporate zombies, such as a nice shot of an office building from the ground level that has a zombie's head popping up at the very bottom. His characters look great and still remind me a bit of a less squiggly Frank Quitely. The harmonica effect is very well done too. When Ewing plays, these swirls of color float out around him that look beautiful.
Key of Z #2 packs a lot of back story into its 23 pages which just reminds me that this is a mini-series and not an ongoing. All of the momentum built up from the first issue is lost with the shift away from Ewing into the gang war's past. Since I hadn't gotten to know those characters, I didn't care about them when I read their background. Ewing is the main character here and he seems more than capable to carry the book. Let's just hope that the tail end of this issue is a sign of where the series will pick back up next month.
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