iZombie, vol. 1

iZombie 1Summary: Gwendolyn “Gwen” Dylan is a 20-something gravedigger in an eco-friendly cemetery. Once a month she must eat a human brain to keep from losing her own memories, but in the process she becomes consumed with the thoughts and personality of the dead person – until she eats her next brain. Gwen sets out to fulfill the dead person’s last request, solve a crime or right a wrong. Our zombie girl detective is joined by her best friend, Eleanor, who happens to be a swinging ’60s ghost, a posse of paintball-blasting vampires, a smitten were-dog and a hot but demented mummy.

The first five issues of this smart detective series that mixes urban fantasy and romantic dramedy is collected, with a story from the HOUSE OF MYSTERY HALLOWEEN ANNUAL #1.

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iZombie, vol. 1, by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred 6.25

iZombie is a comic book series that ran for 28 issues from 2010 to 2012 on the Vertigo Comics imprint. It follows the melodramatic life of Gwen, a revenant who works in a cemetery. With her friends Ellie, a ghost, and Spot, a wereterrier, she tries to solve the mysterious deaths of the people whose brains she’s eating.

Waaaaait…. what?

You read right: since she’s a revenant, she needs to feed periodically in order to retain her human qualities, to prevent becoming a full-blown zombie. This means eating brains at least once a month. Problem is, when she eats a cadaver’s brain (the cemetery is a buffet!), she is saddled with the deceased’s thoughts.

And they sometimes want their deaths avenged!

Thus she tries to put together clues in order to find the person or persons responsible – all the while dodging monster hunters, fraternising with an ancient undead serial killer, avoiding scrappy local vampires and… falling in love. It’s essentially a twisted soap opera with all manners of undead, and with a little action thrown in to spice things up.

Personally, I wasn’t that keen on it. I plowed through this trade paperback (which collects issues 1-5 as well as the original short from ‘House of Mystery Halloween Annual #1’), but it required determination; I could easily have stopped and never looked back: the characters all have similar voices, their lives aren’t interesting, and the art is merely okay.

I seem to be a rare dissenter, however, as the series gained enough of a following that it has since been adapted for the small screen, garnering it favourable reviews and good ratings. I wasn’t aware of this when I started the book. But, although I have no intention of continuing the series, I will check an episode or two out to see what it’s like.

The show might have built on the comic’s foundations. Ya never know.

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