Tuesday, October 25, 2011

iZombie: uVampire

One of the first posts that I wrote for this blog was focused on the first volume of iZombie, and here we are today taking a look at the second. Now of course I was going to be enthusiastic about a new comic that Mike Allred had a hand in, even if it meant a long length of time without enough new Madman material. I remember thinking that iZombie was a great new series that brought some freshness to the often stale tropes of horror stories. Zombies, werewolves, vampires, mummies, ghosts....iZombie is crammed full of all of those old creatures. But Chris Roberson and Mike are all about bringing characters out of those different kinds of creatures. This second collection helped to flesh out the stories of the various inhabitants of the iZombie world.

Scott (or Spot) the Were-Terrier is the first character to enter the spotlight. His parents tragically died and he wound up being brought up single-handedly by his grandfather. Maybe that sounds a little boring, but grandpa is the guy who voiced Mr. Chimps, the cartoon character who for all intents and purposes appears to be iZombie's Mickey Mouse. You'd think that the guy who does the voice of such a cheery cartoon character would be a cheery guy himself, but that really isn't the case at all. Mr. Chimps was just a way to earn some scratch and the old buzzard is at least a little bit ashamed of himself for the life he's lived. He's also not so proud of his grandson's proclivity for reading comics and just being a geek in general. So Scott is an embarrassment  until the day when "Mr. Chimps" himself dies in a hospital bed.

Another valuable life lesson learned from the story of Spot the Were-Terrier: approach what appears to be a dead dog on the side of the road with caution. Maybe try not to even touch it...that's what Scott did, and he was never the same again!

If I may add one final piece to the focus on this issue, I'd like to report that Scott's grandfather is actually alive and kicking again. His soul is now animating a chimp from the local zoo and he's being hidden away in Scott's apartment. So now he really is Mr. Chimps, and he's not too pleased. One lifetime as a cartoon chimp was enough for him, and now it's all become a little more real...

Moving on, Horatio and Gwen go out for a date. They pick a minigolf place as their destination, and things are going pretty well until Gwen starts having attacks again. Eating brains has some really nasty side effects. Marion has been dead for awhile, but now that a part of her has been digested by Gwen she's been really annoying the poor zombie girl.

Gwen can't ignore it anymore and has to let Tricia (Marion's daughter) that mommy dearest regrets all of the awful things that she said to her girl when she started growing up and bringing boys to the house and rebelling. Gwen thinks that addressing all of this will make everyone feel a whole lot better, but she soons discovers a connection between Marion, Tricia, herself, and a family member of her own whom she had entirely forgotten about....things are getting weird.

It seems that Mike Allred needed a little break from the iZombie schedule (probably to work on that Madman stuff again!). Issue #12 features a guest artist, and it's not like when guest artists appear in a generic DC or Marvel comic, when all of a sudden the art gets really crappy for a month. Nope, not here in iZombie. The guest artist is Gilbert Hernandez, and speaking as someone who has never really read much Love and Rockets, the man is gooooood.

This issue puts the spotlight on Ellie the ghost. We get to see a little glimpse of what it's like to live in a graveyard with a community of ghosts...not surprisingly, they like to tell stories to make the time pass. Then Ellie tells her own story of how her father went away to the war and was never the same. He was always very withdrawn and only came to life when he was around his daughter. He didn't last long after Ellie got hit by a bus and died.

The neat thing that caps off this issue is when we learn that this whole story is taking place in the past. In the last few pages Ellie hears someone pounding on a coffin from underground. It's somebody who's "not dead yet," and that somebody winds up being Gwen Dylan. So it's nice to see how these two best pals met, and it winds up being a nice way to wrap up the collection.

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