"Zombie Rush: Riot – Volume One" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Source Point Press
Written by Eric Roman
Illustrated by Joshua Werner, Tom Bacon, and Eric Roman
2015, 72 Pages
Graphic Novel released on April 4th, 2015
Zombies are everywhere now. It's impossible to avoid the shuffling masses, as they've invaded every aspect of pop culture. Having already tackled the mobile game space, Zombie Rush: Riot heads to comics, collecting the first five chapters of the survivor stories from the app. I've never played the game, as it appears to only be available for iOS, so I can't tell if the comic adds or enhances the gameplay. I can tell you that as a standalone story, it's lacking. This is probably due to how the chapters are structured.
Zombie Rush: Riot follows a number of people literally running around during the zombie apocalypse in an effort to save others and/or gather supplies. For some reason they're called “rushers” instead of “runners” or “lunatics.” Each chapter highlights a different character, and I imagine they would appear after you've played a specific level in the game. This works great for bonus in-game content, but less so for a graphic novel.
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The story is rather disjointed. There is some continuity between chapters as the characters start to interact a little, however there's no overarching plot. These people are really just running around and hoping for the best. You can practically see the game mechanics as each chapter has someone running...err...rushing after some maguffin. There's not much in the way of history or character development, nor do you find out what caused the dead to start rising in the first place.
The artwork is split between three different artists, with Tom Bacon handling three chapters and Eric Roman and Joshua Werner each drawing one chapter a piece. They have somewhat similar styles, so the book flows without much interruption. Werner's artwork is the most polished of the bunch, with some great details on the zombies. You can see the maggots squirming their way out of the holes in the undead flesh. It's a nice touch.
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Zombie Rush: Riot serves almost entirely as bonus content for the mobile game. As a comic, it cannot stand on its own. It feels like there are big pieces missing from it, which would probably be the gameplay. As the two are separate entities, I would hope that they could exist without each other. As it stands, we're thrown into a zombie apocalypse with characters we care little about and go along for their sloppy run through the streets.