by Mike Hansen
When I talked about how much I enjoyed Orchid #1, I wasn’t expecting fate to present me with another great new title so quickly, much less another with a post-apocalyptic story from another rocker. But here it is.
I love a good dark-future story, and despite the glut of zombie material out there, Key of Z (from Boom! Studios and Evil Ink Comics) is worth a look. The first issue’s variant cover is by Nathan Fox drew the main regular cover for #1, and it’s very cool and fits the logo perfectly, even if it doesn’t reflect much of the issue’s contents (which have many more humans than zombies, as all good zombie stories should). The other covers by Declan Shalvey and Tony Moore (the man who helped start the zombie comics wave by drawing The Walking Dead Vol. 1) are very cool, too, so whichever version you read makes for a good package.
Writers Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert do a great job getting the story off and running, with just enough character development to make me want to see more in future chapters. What’s cool and different about this story is that it basically divides the surviving population of zombie-infested New York into two massive “gangs,” one living in each baseball stadium. That’s a nice touch, and has echoes of the reaction to real-world disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
Without giving too much away, the first issue is mostly setup, but it’s all interesting stuff that drew me in, especially the main characters like the leaders of each population and a couple of wanderers hunting for supplies. It’s still an open question who the heroes are, if anyone, but all of them are given personality and motivation.
Artist Aaron Kuder does an exemplary job in all respects, with good-to-great linework on the characters and backgrounds, layouts, storytelling, and pacing. His style is a nice mixture of Arthur Adams and Frank Quitely, and is miles ahead of most of the not-ready-for-prime-time newcomers seen on some Marvel and DC titles these days. Most impressive to me is his absolute lack of fear of drawing as many panels as necessary to best convey the storytelling, with some pages having as many as 10-11 panels. Comics needs more dedicates craftsmen like Kuder, and I hope to see more from him.
The creators have previously worked on titles like The Amory Wars and Kill Audio, neither of which I’ve had the opportunity to check out yet (though I know I have the $1.00 issue of Amory Wars lying around somewhere, as I make a point to try any series sight-unseen at that price). Key of Z #1 is so solid that I don’t want to wait to read more of their work (which I rarely feel about creators with whose work I’m so unfamiliar), so I hope my local comics shop has these other titles to hold me over.
A job well done on a kick-ass comic. Key of Z just leaped onto my must-buy list.
UPDATE: I just learned that issue #2 is on sale this Wednesday, so now’s a great time to jump on board, if you haven’t already.
- Preview – Key of Z #2 (graphicpolicy.com)
- Claudio Sanchez’s Key Of Z (scifitalk.com)
- How Popular Culture Helps keep us Human in “Key of Z” (Review) (popmatters.com)
- Claudio Sanchez Announces New Zombie Title and The Amory Wars Video Game – SDCC ’11 (tmeatcomiccon2011.wordpress.com)
- Claudio Sanchez Announces New Zombie Title and The Amory Wars Video Game – SDCC ’11 (graphicpolicy.com)
- NYCC 11 – Key Of Z Debuts at New York Comic Con (graphicpolicy.com)
- Coheed and Cambria Frontman and His Wife Collaborate on Comic Book Series (noisecreep.com)
- San Diego Comic Con 2011: Claudio Sanchez Announces Key of Z, The Amory Wars Video Game, and More (dreadcentral.com)
- Key of Z Release Announced and Cover Artwork Revealed (dreadcentral.com)
- Key Of Z Debuts Same Day As Print On Comics By comiXology (graphicpolicy.com)
- I Read ORCHID #1 (alldaycomics.com)
- Frank Miller: The Dennis Miller of Comics (alldaycomics.com)
- R.I.P. Les Daniels (alldaycomics.com)
- I Read SVK by Warren Ellis & D’Israeli (alldaycomics.com)