Comic Book Review – The Last Zombie: Before the After by Brian Keene & Fred Perry (2012)

The Last Zombie: Before the After
by Brian Keene & Fred Perry
Release Date: 2012
Publisher: Antarctic Press

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I think I have a new comic book passion. Scratch that…I KNOW I have one. I have vowed, after reading the first two issues of THE LAST ZOMBIE: BEFORE THE AFTER, that I’m going to snatch up every issue of this series…and then every issues in the other story arcs as well. Epic in scope and excellent in execution, this is one comic that every horror fan needs to be collecting.

If you are not familiar with THE LAST ZOMBIE series, here is the plot synopsis:

THE LAST ZOMBIE series takes place years after a zombie apocalypse has decimated humanity. Dr. Ian Scott is part of a mission to find out what happened to a FEMA bunker in West Virginia. Contact with the bunker, which housed his fiancée, Jen, has been lost. Along the journey from Colorado to West Virginia, Ian contracts the zombie virus. He secretly injects himself with the precious, experimental zombie vaccine that the team is transporting to the FEMA bunker. Even with the vaccine, Ian is slowly deteriorating and succumbing to the virus. And Doctor Federman is beginning to piece together Ian’s secret. BEFORE THE AFTER is the fourth story arc in the series. The team takes refuge from a blizzard in an abandoned hotel. There, they investigate the premises, scavenge for supplies, and just try to endure the storm.

As chagrined as I am to admit it, I am not familiar with Brian Keene’s body of work, although I know he is a powerhouse in the horror world. After reading the first two issues of THE LAST ZOMBIE: BEFORE THE AFTER, I am definitely going to get acquainted with Keene’s portfolio. The man is truly a master of horror.

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THE LAST ZOMBIE: BEFORE THE AFTER is unique in the fact that it deals more with the characters and their strife than with the zombies themselves. Oh, don’t get me wrong: there’s plenty of walking dead action and terror…but usually in the form of flashbacks. With this series, we get to see what brought the characters to where they are now in their world.

The artwork looks great, and I particularly like how it is done in black & white. I’ve heard some critics say that zombie comics that are published in this format are just trying to rip off THE WALKING DEAD. I completely disagree. The lack of color adds to the realism and grittiness of the situations the characters have to face. So, if anything, the black & white aspect adds to the intensity, regardless of the genre.

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I highly recommend THE LAST ZOMBIE: BEFORE THE AFTER, and as mentioned, I will be checking out the other story arcs within this series as well. Give this one a look for sure.

MSB

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