"Key of Z #1" Comic Review


Written by James Ferguson


Published by BOOM! Studios



Written by Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert
Illustrated by Aaron Kuder
2011, 24 Pages, $3.99
Comic Book released on October 19th, 2011


Click images to enlarge.




I've only seen the 1979 film The Warriors once, but I know that it would have been even cooler if the gangs were battling amongst hordes of zombies.  This is the rough premise behind Key of Z, a four issue mini-series from BOOM! Studios and Evil Ink Comics.  The dead have risen and in their wake, two rival gangs have been created, one finding shelter in Yankee Stadium and the other creating a utopia in Madison Square Garden.  They each have a very different view on their current situation.  Meanwhile, Ewing stands alone between the two gangs.  He once lived at MSG, but is out on his own a few years later.  We don't know why yet, but that's just the first of the questions that surround Ewing.  

This first issue of Key of Z gives us glimpses of how things go this way.   We're first shown the dawn of the zombie uprising, followed by the formation of the two gangs.  Then we're launched ahead four years and the world is no better.  The gangs are still holding on to their respective areas though.  This is where the bulk of the issue takes place.

Although the undead are the cause of all this devastation, they're not the focus of the comic.  This seems to be the case for most successful series about zombies.  Ewing is at the center here and there is clearly a story to tell with him.  He's lost his family, but we don't know the specifics just yet.  Nor do we know what his intentions are.


Click images to enlarge.


Aaron Kuder handles the art for this series and he knocks it out of the park.  His style reminds me of a more level-handed Frank Quitely (We3).  The zombies throughout Key of Z are worked into the background of most of the panels when they're not in the thick of things.  This often results in slightly humorous shots, such as a dead zombie resting her head on the shoulder of another in Central Park.  The widespread death and destruction is handled solemnly, but with terror built in.  Just after that Central Park scene is an eerie panel of a bridge that's lined with people who have hanged themselves to escape being eaten alive.  My only criticism of Kuder's work is that some of the characters have really veiny arms that look a little out of place.  This isn't a super hero book.  This is a tale of real people and yes, everyone has muscles, but rarely do you seem them all bulging like some body builder.

Fans should be on the lookout for the two different covers of this issue.  One is handled by Nathan Fox, while the other is drawn by Tony Moore, co-creator of The Walking Dead.  To be honest, I like Fox's cover a bit more.  It has a great pulpy feel to it.

Key of Z is only a four issue mini-series, but I can tell from the first issue that I'm going to want more.  The setup is very clearly The Warriors with zombies, but that is just so awesome that it's worth it.  Any zombie fans in New York should be checking this out on principal if only for the sole reason of getting ideas for places to hide out when the dead eventually walk the earth.  You know Times Square is going to be a hotbed of zombie activity.  Although, that's always filled with tourists so maybe that won't be so bad.


Click images to enlarge.








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James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
Other articles by this writer



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