"Tommy Zombie #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Slackjaw Comics
Written by Gary Farmer and Chris Forsberg
Illustrated by Ike Racho
2011, 20 Pages, $2.99
One of our biggest advantages over zombies is the fact that they're lumbering imbeciles driven only by their insatiable hunger for human flesh. But what if they got smart? I don't know about you, but I'd just pack it in right then and there. Tommy Zombie toys with that premise a bit, introducing their title character as a former member of a Navy Seal team and the only survivor of the zombie cure. There were of course some side effects, such as the craving for brains.
I was introduced to the character when I reviewed the first issue of Tales from the Dead some time ago. That comic was a collection of short stories and Tommy Zombie was one of the better of the bunch, with artwork that really stood out from the rest. Those pages are included in this first issue, but they're expanded upon to give us a bit more info on Tommy's origin as well as the world he lives in.
As a first issue, Tommy Zombie pulled me in. Unlike most zombie stories, this one gives you the basics right away so it can get moving without all the waiting and discovery. The dead began to rise after a mutated strain of swine flu spread across the world. Our protagonist was given a cure to test it out but it obviously didn't work. Now as the book's tagline puts it, he's not alive. He's not undead. He's just Tommy.
Ike Racho's art is presented here in stark black and white with some pretty gruesome scenes. Nothing is left to the imagination as Tommy hacks his way through zombie and human alike, stopping to savor the taste of the woman he's saved.
Tommy Zombie is an interesting character and one that we don't know much about just yet. This debut issue is a good setup for the series. While the kills are incredibly gory, they're not drawn out or included for no good reason. Tommy is clearly a little messed up as he's talking to himself as he dismembers his victim, giving us a better idea of the kind of person he is.
You can order this first issue as well as a version with a variant cover at the Slackjaw Comics site.