Johnathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin books have always been a favourite of mine and it was sad to read the final book in the series, Fire and Ash. I was both surprised and elated that the book would also be getting an accompanying comic book series and jumped at the opportunity to review the issue one.
Set 15 years after the fall of civilization as we know it, Benny Imura and his small band of warriors trek across the barren landscape following the trail of an aeroplane, hoping for something more than their current home. The comic is an accompaniment to the Rot and Ruin series and the story resides somewhere during the dust and decay book of the series. Each character is exactly as expected and does not deviate from their original portrayal. The artwork by Vargas captures the characters exactly how I pictured them and it was great to see them as such. The artwork throughout is detailed and gritty and really captures both the serenity and starkness of the setting but also the violence, energy and gore of the action scenes.
Each character has their own unique characteristics, from the clever and fiery Nix to the feral and blunt Lilah, Chong the intelligent best friend and Benny, warrior, smart and leader of the small band trekking across the zombie infested unforgiving American landscape. It’s these characters, the likable personalities and the relationships that bond them that has you routing for these kids when they are faced with impossible odds and unconceivable decisions they face. This is more than a zombie story it is about a group of youngsters and their development and survival in desperate and unforgiving times.
The plot is again not just your generic zombie hack and slash, but explores how another settlement has survived and flourished and approaches it has taken to do so. Benny and his friends believe that they may have found the safety and lives they were looking for but as the operations of the settlement are revealed it is evident that the zombies and wild animals that roam the landscape are not the most dangerous thing they will encounter.
This is a great accompaniment to the world of Benny Imura and co. and as a long-time fan it is highly recommended. I would also recommend this to fans of zombies and great comics, and I believe it is a great addition to the genre, filled with action and violence on a level that can only be expected from a zombie comic. With characters that are both likable and realistic in a world that is dangerous and compelling and I can’t wait for the next in the series. Obviously you don’t have to read the novels to read the comic but I implore you to give the novels a try if you like the comic, you won’t regret it.