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Friday, October 9, 2009

Defoe 1666. Pat Mills (Writer), Leigh Gallagher (Art), Ellie De Ville (Letters). Rebellion (2009)

Superb writing and beautifully expressive art combine to in a griping and inventive comic.On the 2nd of September 1666 a great comet passed over London, houses were set on fire and many died. The earth cracked open and gases flooded up that reanimated the dead and a desperate battle between the living and the living dead began. A bite from a zombie is infectious, it will turn the living into a zombie too, Titus Defoe fights the tide of zombies using weapons designed by Issac Newton and inoculated against the zombie infection by a cordial. It becomes clear that there is much more to the comet and the zombie attacks than chance, there is a much greater battle being fought. The story unfolds with great panache, the reveals are well paced, the action is amazing and the cast are exciting and engaging.

Pat Mills has managed to find a genuinely new way of telling a zombie story and using it to reach for a much bigger story at the same time. By placing the story in the context of post Civil War England he has an extraordinary context where huge political, social, religious and economic divisions strained the fabric of society. The story utilises historical characters in a wonderfully inventive way to place the zombies in the context of a greater war that is spoken of but critically never fully explained. The adds depth to the savage action on the front lines of the struggle against the "reeks".

Leigh Gallaher's black and white art is astounding, his command of both savage action sequences and the way that his cast are both wholly individual and expressive is a joy. He takes full advantage of the story and gives it a fierce reality that makes the struggle against the"reeks" a grippingly close run affair.

Any comic where the reanimated head of Oliver Cromwell stuck on a pole leading a New Moral Army of zombies in an assault on a naked Charles II in his palace is only one small episode has ambition, this comic fully realises that ambition and then pushes even further. Brilliant.

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