’68 Rule of War #1: Lace Up Your Combat Boots
Get ready for more retro-military-horror-action!
With the zombie series ’68 kicking off again, this iteration being Rule of War, be ready to shed your gore inhibitions and strap on your combat boots! Being a zombie fan myself, I’m surprised I’ve never noticed this series even though it debuted 3 years ago. ’68: Rule of War, picks up at the end of ’67, somewhere in Cambodia. We the readers are introduced to a mad doctor threatening a man by the name of Lieutenant Rule, who’s already been butchered and spliced with electronics in the name of science. Seeing Lt. Rule, still kicking and fighting despite his surgical torture, let me know right away what the gore level was going to be for this series. Awesome, that’s what! The story jumps ahead in time several months, and introduces us to Declan Jonas Rule, Lt. Rule’s father and CIA company man. And his companion, a bad ass German Shepard named Nero. As the next several pages unfold, D.J. Rule and his killer canine proceed to slaughter VC soldiers viciously. All the while narrating to us readers a brief history of the Vietnam occupation and his business. That business being studying the enemy and finding and killing the man responsible, Dr. Than Morneau.
This new mini series jumps around a bit, also introducing us to Watson, Yam, Alice, Maggie, Curly, and Samson. A group trying to escape an airport in Saigon while avoiding the VC and the incoming Zeds. I really got a kick out of the visceral killings the group dished out to those walking corpses, while they made the mad dash to the safety of an old war plane. Jumping again, briefly, we’re brought to the Hudson River in the states. Another small group of survivors we’re introduced to are on a boat and we see them wanting to fish but can’t, for fear of contamination from all the corpses falling into the river from the bridge in front of them. The issue rounds out by coming back to D.J. Rule, who recounts his knowledge of his sons recent past, and the events leading to where he is now; hunting the man responsible. Declan is following the clues through the jungle of Cambodia, when he comes upon the horrific scene of a camp that has since been slaughtered and overrun by the dead. Declan see’s a photographer hiding in the trees that alerts him to a zombie who has, with it’s excessive body modifications, obviously had the misfortune of meeting our good Dr. Morneau.
All in all, this wasn’t a bad read. I would definitely recommend this book to zombie and horror fans. While Jeff Zornow’s character shots aren’t super consistent, the close-ups are pretty damn good, and really make you say “Ugh, gross!” Which, in the horror world, is akin to a thumbs-up. I feel there was a good conveyance of emotion on all the characters faces, including the cannon fodder VC troops, as well as Nero the German Shepherd. I feel that this guy Zornow is a study of Steve Dillon from the famed Preacher series. If you enjoyed the latter the same can probably be said of the former.
Mark Kidwell’s story charges ahead not worrying about the finer details, seemingly knowing all will be explained in time. That’s fine with me, cause now I want to know. The dialogue is a bit cheesy a times which, with all the gore, made me think of a ‘B’ horror movie, and that nostalgia is a fine thing.
A stand alone like this is great because, you can pick it up, invest little time, and still get a fun read out of it all. And, you don’t have to start from the beginning if you don’t want to. I personally plan on reading the past series’ under this title, as soon as the opportunity presents itself. I recommend all you Zed-heads out there shamble over to your nearest shop and picking up a copy yourself.
I give this title 3 out of 5 zombie heads!