Review: ZOMBEN #1

ZOMBEN #1
Written by Mike Heneghan
Art by Abel Cicero, Manoli Martinez
Published by Titan1Studios
Release Date: April 26, 2017

What happens after the apocalypse? Would it be possible for work, family life or even school to go on? We find out in Titan1 Studios new book Zomben that the answer is yes, even if you are a zombie. Zomben is the story of a boy, Ben, who survived the apocalypse but not without being bitten by a Zombie. His family tries to protect this secret while keeping him in school and live a somewhat normal life.

This is a fun original take on the Zombie apocalypse (or in this case Zombie/Tentacle/Robot?!) that gives us a different kind of terror. While other Zombie stories revolve around the terror of struggling to remain human, Zomben gives us a look at the terror of struggling with being different. At it’s core Zomben is a classic story of acceptance of someone new and different into your life. Readers will identify with either being or welcoming the new kid to school. You can either make their life hell or celebrate their differences and the variety that it can add to your life. Heneghan gives us a story about the latter. Heneghan lightens the horror heavy tone that most Zombie books have with a sweet childlike innocence. He has done a great job at delivering the narrative in a kid’s matter of fact tone. He also successfully hints at a tension that lies just underneath everyone’s skin.

A glance at this book may lead the reader to think it’s just another kids comic book but the trauma of living through the apocalypse permeates all the characters. The reader will find that the terror is just waiting to break out, from the parent’s carefully chosen words to the kids emotional scarring covered up with video games and school work. This first issue has just enough tidbits of unique backstory and things to come that the reader is left looking forward to the next issue.

Cicero’s artwork is a bright and refreshing change of pace. It’s a different style than what is in most books out right now. He excels at capturing the expressions of all the characters in over exaggerated yet likeable way. He has also been able to communicate the tension that permeates the book. Every single character seems to be almost ready to break and it shows in their faces. The character’s skin seems stretched taut against their face and yet the children still seem to retain some semblance of innocence. There is a very smooth flow in panel layout and also of the positioning of the characters in the panels. He largely sticks to the golden ratio in each panel’s layout pleasing the reader’s eyes.  Martinez’ colors are bright and saturated and give a cheerful energetic mood to the overall book which again are a stark contrast to the tension that flows throughout the book.  The inkwork is great and adds a lot of texture to everything without overwhelming the art or colors.

Overall Zomben is a joy to read. The artwork captures the youthfulness of the characters while Heneghan’s writing nicely contrasts tragic circumstances with the lightheartedness of being in grade school. Being new in a strange place is a horror story that everyone can relate to and it’s dealt with perfectly here. If you love Zombie stories but are tired of the same old brain eating storyline then you will definitely enjoy this book.

The Verdict: 9.0/10

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