Dead@17 (2nd Series) + Rotting in Dirtville
Horror may not be the proper classification for writer/artist Josh Howard’s mortem opus about teenage girls that never truly live until they die, but if it shuffles like a zombie, and moans like a zombie, it’s a zombie.
Not that there are zombies in this first issue, just a Hydra-like dragon stalking the visions of latest chosen warrior Asia Black. What separates Howard’s work from the number of other post-Buffy supernaturally fated pretty young things (aside from his punk-rock Bratz-style art that’s neither traditionally comic nor animated, but that’s part of it, right?) is that Dead@17 actually follows the Buffy model of respecting its protagonist, who incidentally happens to be a cute girl, first and foremost; whereas other books try to make a tough book about a girl who’s cute.
It’s fun and well-paced, a book teenagers might actually want to read. This time around, Howard’s evolving art seems to flash some Brian Wood influences, with paramilitary teenage rebellion covers that would make The Clash proud.
Terrific, horrific art and powerful writing by the artist of Strange Detective Tales. James Callahan creates a tale about parentless teenagers in a nowhere town with too little to do. That changes when they find themselves the next target for Martian, zombie robots that, like the problems in their more mundane lives, keep compounding themselves no matter how often they’re dispelled. The slight triumph of the ending reminds us that in life, but especially adolescence, victories are only temporary, and perhaps more precious because of that.
Brendan McGinley is a long-time writer for ComicBase. His comic favorites include anything featuring Grim Jack, Punisher, Guy Gardner, Green Lantern, or written buy Evan Dorkin, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Deadpool… and the list goes on. But he insists he is of discriminating tastes.