"Risers: Volume 1" Trade Paperback Review
Written by Gabino Iglesias
Published by Alterna Comics
Written by Martin Fisher
Penciled by Kurt Belcher
Ink: Acts 1 and 2 by Steve Farfan / Acts 3, 4 and 5 by Henrik Horvath
2008, 129 Pages
Trade Paperback released on October 15th, 2008
When I read the introduction to Risers from Ain't It Cool News editor and reviewer Mark L. Miller, I was not surprised to see the words "something completely unique to the genre" in there. Since the onslaught of undead television shows, comics and novels began, unique has been written and said too many times, even when it's absolutely false. However, this time around the zombie genre actually received a breath of fresh air from a story with a distinctive perspective.
Risers tells the story of Annette Thomas, a woman that comes back from the dead. However, Annette is not a regular zombie, she's a Riser. Risers are people that come back from the afterlife because they have unfinished business or dark secrets. Instead of brain-craving monsters, these zombies have feelings, memories and the ability to reason and talk. In the case of Annette, she has no big secret to reveal or ask forgiveness for, so her return from the grave is a mystery. With her family turning their backs on her, Annette has to rely on herself and the help from Ned, an instructor at the Riser facility to which she's taken, to figure out the reason for her return. What follows is a dramatic story of self-discovery and family love that's unlike anything else in the zombie genre.
By offering a story where zombies have a reason to be among the living and then showing us how this polarizes people, 'Risers" successfully establishes a sense of tension that's there for the duration of the story. While a resolution of Annette's mystery is never achieved, it's clear that Risers is only the beginning of a series.
Although the story is solid, the art seems to be one step below. There are very interesting angles and point of view used throughout the narration, but ultimately the heavy use of black, which in some cases seems to devour the faces of the characters and in others makes for the entire background, takes a while to get used to.
Despite too much dark and a few editing mistakes, Risers brings sentient zombies to the forefront and takes the genre in a new direction. Just for that, it deserves a read.
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