It seems that zombies are here to stay. Sure I’m not the first to make this observation, but it seems one can’t turn around without seeing a new zombie movie, book, game, comic, t-shirt…the list goes on. But I’m not complaining, the living dead are always welcome in my house. Provided there is a good story, or good effects, I’ll probably give it a whirl.
One thing that is a crucial element in stories of the undead is the classification of the zombies. Are they dead? Undead? Merely infected? People will argue about what’s truly a zombie, but these arguments aren’t as important as the one we should be having: Is the story effective? Another essential feature in zombie stories is how the infection initially begins. Some stories choose not to say what happened, which is fine, and some have the characters speculate on the subject about three or four different ways. Sometimes you get to see it unfold right in front of you, which is the case for the first issue of Alpha Girl.
Going in, I knew the story was about how a cosmetic company had inadvertently sent the world spiraling into an apocalypse (only marginally reminding me of the Catwoman film, but I’ll give it the pass). I also knew the book focused on a lone female, Judith Meyers, being the only uninfected female and banding together with the male survivors. But I did not expect the kind of charm and sheer lunacy that I experienced during my read of the inaugural issue.
Being the first issue, of course, it has to set up the story, but it does that after giving us a brief glimpse into the window of what is to come. Robert Love does the pencils for the book and his style seems to fit with the tone of this book perfect. While I would describe the art as similar to Saturday morning cartoons, the content of the art is far from kid friendly. The bites, scratches, wounds and gore in a strange twist of irony fit into the art very well. I really like the juxtaposition of the child-like art with the horrific imagery of the infected and the heart-breaking past of the protagonist.
We only get to see Judith for about half the comic, but she’s got enough charm in her to fill all of the pages. I love this character already. She has the flair, of course, of an outcast and a rebel, and she fits into the pigeonhole of that girl that we see so often in popular media, but that’s not why I like her. She’s got heart and is sympathetic, and the way she is drawn makes her feel real. Also, she’s a total badass.
I cannot praise Jeff Roenning’s writing style enough. His dark humor, wit and twisted plot points are as excellent as his storytelling. It seems like he has a clear vision of what he wants to do and where this story is headed. This is one of the best first issues I’ve read in quite some time and I hope I can say the same things about the book if it gets to issue 50. It takes a lot for me to get so enthralled and excited while reading a new comic, for me to go back and re-read it, to look over it again and again and marvel at the remarkable craft in front of me. But I did all of these things with Alpha Girl…I’m ready for issue two please.