"The Other Dead #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Joshua Ortega
Illustrated by Qing Ping Mui
Created by Joshua Ortega and Digger T. Mesch
$3.99, 32 Pages
Comic released on September 25th, 2013
I haven't counted, but I'd say that the amount of existing stories about zombies is somewhere between a thousand and a gajillion. Out of all of those tales, I don't know of many outside of Brian Keene's The Rising that focus on what happens to animals if they get infected with the plague. The Other Dead has set out to change that. Created by Joshua Ortega and Digger T. Mesch, the comic has our furry and feathered friends returning to life with a hunger for flesh.
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The first issue of The Other Dead sets the groundwork for the overall story. There are a few different groups of characters at work. First there's the political angle, as the comic opens with former Vice President Dick Cheney bagging a deer only to find it getting back up to attack him. The government pops up again towards the end of the issue. A family in Kenner, Louisiana, seems to be at the center of the undead animals, especially thanks to rebellious teenager Az and his strange after school activities involving a bunch of dead birds. There's also a stripper in New Orleans named Justina, but I'm not sure how she fits in just yet.
The setup is interesting and there's definitely a lot that has not yet been revealed. Ortega fills The Other Dead with some great chilling moments. The opening scene with the deer sets the tone for the issue and never lets go. Even the pages where we have nothing but exposition between regular humans have a feeling that something's not quite yet. It's as if these people are living their lives in a normal manner for the last time. This is what their world looks like before everything changes forever.
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I was unfamiliar with Qing Ping Mui's artwork before The Other Dead, but I'm very interested in seeing more after reading this issue. He has a very detailed style that really stands out. You can see everything from the million wrinkles on Dick Cheney's face to Justina's curves as she dances. A lot is learned about each character from Mui's pencils. Az's younger brother Tommy has some sort of disease that makes it difficult for him to eat. When we're first introduced to him, he's sitting at the table picking at his food. You can tell right away that he's not bored with it. There's a look on his face of sadness and disappointment. This is cemented when he starts vomiting into his hands.
The Other Dead is off to an interesting start with the first issue. This is a unique territory in the zombie genre. The animals are infected and as a result, mankind is about to get knocked off the top of the food chain. Considering that one of the variant covers by Dave Dorman for this comic features a gun-toting President Obama, I can't wait to see how the government responds to this crisis.