"Pestilence #6" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by AfterShock Comics
Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Oleg Okunev
Colored by Rob Schwager
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 10th, 2018
The Bubonic Plague was not a virus spread by rats. It was a zombie uprising created by the Church. A small band of warriors known as Fiat Lux, the assassin's arm of the Church, are the only people that know of this conspiracy. They may not be able to tell anyone, as a horde of the undead is closing in on their location. A few of them have already been killed off. They have to fight for not only their lives, but those of everyone else out there to ensure that this virus doesn't spread further.
Pestilence #6, the finale to the first arc, is like the climax to a huge action movie. Here you have a handful of soldiers, clad in medieval armor and brandishing swords, against a never-ending army of zombies. It makes for some insane visuals as you see one or two men hacking and slashing their way through the horde. The line of shuffling corpses extends as far as the eye can see. It's a daunting task.
Artist Oleg Okunev draws zombies like no other. There are so many of them and yet no two look alike. Somehow, despite the incredibly uneven odds, the men of Fiat Lux look stronger and more capable than the zombies. It's like a ray of hope from the heavens shines down upon them, pushing them on. The action builds to an insane crescendo with the “eaters” as they call them, clawing at Roderick Helms as he attempts a last ditch effort to put a stop to this plague. You can see a decaying hand paw at his face while he screams and struggles to push past them. It's so friggin' exciting.
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There's a dreary haze over Fiat Lux and the zombies, like the sun has been permanently blocked by dark clouds. Colorist Rob Schwager solidifies this hopeless feeling of dread these warriors must be going through. You can practically feel the dirt and grime covering everyone and everything. There are some bright lights in the distance, but they're not coming from a rising sun. They're coming from fires that have broken out here and there, another symbol of death and destruction.
There is an awesome twist that brings this first arc to a close and presents some very interesting storytelling possibilities. It's fitting given the epic nature of the comic to finish up in this manner. It's amazing to look at this series and how far it's come in only six issues. It starts as a crazy what-if scenario and escalates to an awesome conspiracy-laden tale full of action and intrigue.
Pestilence is a refreshing new take on the zombie genre. It really drives home the claustrophobic onslaught of the undead. They may not be strong or fast, but they're unending. They will wear you down with their hunger for flesh. That is, if you're a normal person. That's not the case with Fiat Lux. These are the toughest warriors this time period has seen. They were first driven by their orders from the Church, but now they're pushed on by a need for justice. What untold horrors lay in wait for them after encountering a horde of eaters?