"Rise: Sister's Keeper" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Double Take
Written by Michael Coast, Jeff McComsey, Ed Gavagan, Elysia Liang, and Bill Jemas
Illustrated by Federica Manfredi, Novo Malgapo, Fernando Melek, Leandro Tonelli, Adriano Vicente, and Claudia Balboni
Colored by Vladimir Popov, Maxflan Araujo, Ross Hughes, Fran Gamboa, Andrea Celestini, and Ylenia Di Napoli
2016, 144 Pages
Trade Paperback released on September 28th, 2016
My quest through Double Take's opening salvo of trade paperbacks continues with Rise: Sister's Keeper. If you're just joining us, this is the third title I've read and it ties most directly into George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, as it centers on Barbara and Johnny, the brother and sister we see in the beginning of the film. We even get the classic line “They're coming to get you, Barbara!” After the undead start terrorizing the siblings, things take a strange turn into a cult-like environment that's difficult to explain.
That may be the phrase to use to describe the Double Take books so far. Each feels like it's missing something, like the books left out huge swathes of plot. Characters make strange decisions and don't seem natural. It's like there's something in the air in Evans County, Pennsylvania, causing everyone to take leave of their senses. For example, Johnny tries to tell this story from his childhood over the course of several scenes, like he's been doing it non-stop the entire day. Imagine that in the real world for a moment. You're walking with someone and they're sharing this tale for at least six hours. Around the 20 minute mark, you'd bash them in the face while yelling for them to just get on with it already.
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After Johnny gets a head injury, he's taken to the hospital and then transported to an open field with a number of other patients. Each is wearing all white with weird words or phrases written on their shirts like “Chaos” or “Stop Complaining.” Everyone has a cot and the whole place is surrounded by barbed wire fences. Armed guards patrol the area. Instead of demanding to be set free because this is unlawful imprisonment, the patients create an elaborate plan that would make The Great Escape look simple. See what I mean about people acting strange?
Rise presents the first real threat to the residents of Evans County in the form of the military. They're clearly ready to bomb the place to wipe out this infection before it spreads to other areas. We get a glimpse of the outside world and how they view the events going on in this sleepy country town. It's clear that not all is what it seems, as the hospital was able to put together this bizarre quarantine pretty quickly.
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The artwork is similar to what is seen in the other Double Take books. Rise suffers from the same resolutions issues due to enlarged artwork too. The designs for Barbara and Johnny stand out and fit well with the time period. You can instantly tell that they're from the 1960s with how they look and dress. That's not the case with most of the other characters throughout the line.
I had high hopes for Rise considering how closely it ties into Night of the Living Dead, but as with Home and Spring, the comic goes off the rails and doesn't make a whole lot of sense. As mentioned above, I feel like I'm missing something here. If these titles are meant to be read in a particular order or as one holistic view, I'd love to find out what it is. I've gotten through three out of the ten books and I'm honestly not sure what is going on in Evans County. Zombies were the first problem they had. Now they're contending with aliens, cult-like quarantines, and the military.