Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Daybreak by Brian Ralph

You are one of the remaining few.  Surrounded on all sides by the undead you rely solely on your new one-armed friend to guide you through the apocalyptic wasteland in the best first-person zombie comic of the year!

This book takes a rather sizable risk from the very first panel: it breaks the fourth wall.  Meaning a character looks directly into the panel and addresses the audience.  This is a first-person comic, so the main character (you) never speaks and we never see you.  This may strike some readers as gimmicky and I’m sure some people will prefer a hero we can see, but I loved the novel attempt to immerse the reader. The art is cartoony and unique. Ralph uses super thick and scratchy outlines and empty white space with just a few scratch marks for detail.  It makes for a look that is both cluttered and spare and fits very well for an apocalyptic look.  The characters for the most part are a bit stock to the zombie genre, but Ralph has a real sense of pacing and dialogue that had me care about the story anyways.  The one exception is your nameless one-armed guide.  He is a funny, unusual, and ultimately tragic figure that I found myself rooting for and missing whenever he wasn’t on screen. He is in many ways the hero of the story and the first person narrative is just a way to view things differently.  This isn’t going to be for all comic or zombie fans and it is a little on the short side, but if you want something truly different, take a risk with Daybreak.

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