Royal Nonesuch takes a look at 28 Days Later #9, published by Boom! Studios.
28 DAYS LATER #9 (A)
28 DAYS LATER #9 (B)
Written by Michael Alan Nelson
Drawn by Leonardo Manco
SC, 24 pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Sean Phillips
COVER B: Declan Shalvey
Diamond Code: JAN100800
Selena and her crew are on the move. London is getting closer, but the journey is getting tougher. While the infected still walk, someone else has their eyes on the three who finally broke the UK quarantine. Someone dangerous…someone with a link to Selena’s past. Featuring art by Leonardo Manco (Hellblazer)
The most remarkable thing about the 28 Days Later series of comics by Boom! Studios isn't how often the zombie creatures show up to wreak havok, but how often they don't. Certainly, they're still on the periphery of the story, but the ninth issue, as it was with the seventh, focuses entirely on our small band of human survivors, and all the threats to their safety.
Of course, amongst the dangers are other humans. That's what makes this book so interesting: the running theme. We are not in this together. Even when facing threats from survivalist camps, the military, and The Infected, the ability to simply go on is a most individual effort. The issue opens with Selena and Clint contemplating what to do with the now-blinded Derrick. A guy who can't see is only going to hold you back when you're on the road to safety. Ultimately, the other side of the self-preservation coin is looking out for our friends, and the decision is made to continue the trek with Derrick.
Writer Michael Alan Nelson does not shy away from framing the tough questions, and giving them the appropriate impact. Later in the issue, when it comes time to write some tense action, Nelson is once again successful. The dialogue is also a strength. It's always in the moment, and expository without overexplaining anything. It has a natural flow that enhances the story.
Also naturally flowing is Leonardo Manco's artwork. Manco is a veteran of widescreen, cinematic storytelling, and he uses all the best elements of the style here. The sense of movement is so fluid, it really stands out to the reader. The figure work is "realistic" enough to help the reader identify with the characters, but textured enough to feel somewhat otherworldly. The gritty color work by Nick Filardi is also great. There just isn't enough thought given to lighting by comic book art teams, but that is not an issue with Manco and Filardi. The high contrast works wonders here.
"I guess there's more than bears in the woods." It's an appropriate line of dialogue to end this issue with. We're never struggling against just one form or adversity, and sometimes, we need to look twice at our own. It's a great premise, and it's well executed here.
9.5 of 10