Alan Smithee

Key of Z #1 – Review

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From the minds that brought us the great series Kill Audio comes a new comic series that involves two of my favorite things, music & zombies.

The most fascinating thing about this new series from Evil Ink Comics is that this marks the first comic written by Sanchez where he’s not a character contained within.

Written by Chondra Echert, Claudio Sanchez
Drawn by Aaron Kuder
SC, 22pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER : Nathan Fox
COVER Limited Edition: Tony Moore
Diamond Code: AUG110892

The story centers around New York City post-zombie apocalypse where all of the power and safety is contained within three very distinct ‘houses’. Each house resides in one of NYC’s numerous ballparks such as Madison Square Garden, Citi Field, and Yankee Stadium and is headed by one central figure in each that has their own motivations and dreams of creating a once again unified New York City…or being it’s ruler.

The story centers on the character Ewing, a previously employed security contractor who protected a politician until the zombie outbreak occurred in which he lost his wife and son. Ewing’s story is that of revenge and retribution as he helps a lost youth (Eddie Alvarez) find his way. The story to me is very reminiscent of Lone Wolf and Cub so far…but with zombies if that makes any sense.

A recurring item that we are yet to see be used in the comic is the harmonica that Ewing was given to him the night of the zombie attack. As to what it can actually do when Ewing faces off with zombies hasn’t been revealed yet but I can guess that it either controls the zombies or kills them outright.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because the writing is great with some of the best dialogue I’ve ever seen the duo write. The narration is succinct and to the point, which tells me that Claudio has really learned how to get a story across in less time…though I wonder how much is Chondra and artist Aaron Kuder.

Speaking of Aaron, this is the second time around that the folks at Evil Ink have chosen him to work with. The first time around was on The Amory Wars: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 series, where he came in mid-series to replace Chris Burnham. I’m glad to see this creative trio working together as you can tell when reading a comic whether the writers get along with the artists.

The artwork is extremely detailed and clean when it counts and downright dirty where it’s needed to be so. I mean, this IS a comic series about zombies and Crom knows that zombies don’t deserve completely clean artwork. I think it’s great how Aaron can capture the essence of a character in one panel and wreak havok in the next. What really struck me was the lack of splash pages in this book. I’m not saying one needs to be done, and we did get a page of just zombie mayhem, but no two pager. This is in no means supposed to be a criticism, I just found it glaring.

STORY: 95%
ART: 95%
OVERALL: 95%

The story still has a little while to go and I can’t wait to see how it develops over the next 3 issues, but I think that Evil Ink has yet another hit series on their hands with The Key of Z. Go pick it up at your local comic store or though your smartphone/tablet pc via the comiXology applications that run on either iOS or Android firmwares…or you can read it on the web as well through the same service.

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