Science fiction and fantasy                                            

iZombie: Dead To The World

by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred


The town of Eugene, Oregon is full of monsters and secrets. Gwen Dylan is no exception, as a zombie who looks normal most of the time. By day she digs graves, and by night she unearths them or hangs out with her best friend Ellie, who is a ghost. If Gwen doesn't eat at least one brain a month she turns into a shambling, festering horror movie staple.

The trouble is, when she eats a brain she absorbs the person's memories, and all their unfinished business. And her latest grey meal has put her on the scent of a murder mystery. Gwen is cynical, with a lovely dry sense of humour, so she's not the most fervent crime fighter. By contrast Ellie doesn't just resemble Daphne from Scooby Doo, she has all of her alter ego's boundless enthusiasm too. Their other friend Spot is a lovelorn, socially awkward were-terrier. Add in an attractive monster hunter, a mysterious guy who wraps himself in bandages (and is also hot), and a gaggle of beautiful but bitchy vampires who prey on young men.

So the story is full of lusty young characters who are only somewhat monstrous, with the resulting budding love affairs adding another layer of complexity to Gwen's adventures. As a zombie she has already died, and many of her friends are technically dead as well, but a pair of monster hunters have moved in with the intention of putting the dead back in their graves. The trouble is, the dead aren't necessarily ready to go, and not all of them deserve the harsh treatment the hunters are willing to dish out.

The artwork is clear, bright, and slightly retro, and it's an eye-catching style that chimes well with the tone of the story. There's little darkness to iZombie, and there are few extremes of good and evil. Most of the characters are nuanced in a way that bodes well for the rest of the series in terms of interesting moral dilemmas. Even though they can be catty, the vampires aren't the kind of soulless hunger machines of some fictional worlds. They're organised, calculating and divided amongst themselves, which makes them more interesting.

This graphic novel is an intriguing introduction to a series, but it's just a beginning. Although we find out who committed the central crime it's by no means a self-contained story. There are far too many loose ends and romantic entanglements waiting to be resolved, as though it's building up to a much more significant story arc. Fortunately the characters are quirky and likeable, and the humour is effective, so I did want to read on to the next volume.

21st January 2013

Book Details

Year: 2011

Categories: Books

  Female Protagonist  

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