Thursday, 11 December 2008

‘Crawlspace Volume 1: XXXombies’ – Rick Remender, Tony Moore & Kieron Dwyer (Image Comics)


Zombie stories aren’t so much about the zombies themselves, more about how the living deal with the imminent prospect of having their brains eaten. It has to be like this because, to be fair, there’s only so much interesting story that you can give a walking corpse whose sole purpose is to eat! The trick then is to come up with fresh and original situations for the living characters to find themselves in while fighting off the zombie hordes. I wouldn’t say that I’ve reads loads of zombie books but I’ve read a fair few and I’ve never come across an idea quite like the one Remender, Moore and Dwyer give us.
Like the blurb says, it’s ‘Boogie Nights’ meets ‘Dawn of the Dead’...

It’s Los Angeles in 1977 and porn producer Wong Hung Lau sets up shop for a frantic weekend of... er... filming so he can pay the Mob the money that he owes them. While the action is taking place on the film set, no-one realises that action of a far different sort is taking place outside. A plane crash has led to zombies invading L.A and the city has been quarantined... Not only do our lusty crew have to escape being eaten alive but they must also stay one step ahead of gangsters who really want the money they’re owed. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a gun toting stranger in town whose mission is to rescue his daughter from Hung Lau’s porn film business...

‘XXXombies’ is a very quick read, not only because it’s only 96 pages long but also because it’s a fun and entertaining book that’s incredibly easy to get into. It’s incredibly gory though (as all the best zombie books are) with the writers leaving you in no doubt as what it must look like being stuck in the middle of a city that’s locked down and full of zombies. Some of the gore is tongue in cheek and made me laugh, some of it made me think, “what the...” and decide not to post pictures of any of the artwork!

The story itself has a real ‘Pulp Fiction’ vibe going on, both in its attitude and the way that the several plot strands all seem to come seamlessly together right at the end. There’s very little room for the plot to expand (or for us to get to know any of the characters) so what we get instead is a plot that’s very tight and direct. There’s also plenty of ‘zombie moments’ that are either genuinely scary or play off the whole tongue in cheek exploitative nature of the book. The only thing I wasn’t too sure about was the complete change in direction in the very last panels of the book...

Despite this though, ‘XXXombies’ is an entertaining read that zombie fans should get a lot out of. It also bodes well for the ‘Crawlspace’ horror series that Image Comics are developing...

Eight and a Half out of Ten.

3 comments:

Liz said...

Yay! One pressie down on the list for me to buy Mark.

Liz x

Harrison Holtz said...

The cover for this novel is fantastic! I've been reading the hell out of Kirkman's Walking Dead recently. Once I finish those it's nice to know there's another great Zombie book to pick up.

Graeme Flory said...

Liz,

If Mark likes zombies then I reckon he'll like this one. Get it online though if you can, much cheaper given that it's a fairly slim book ;o)

Hi Harrison,

XXXombies is nothing like the 'Walking Dead', it's more about being an entertaining read rather than having a message for the reader. Still worth a look though ;o)