Friday, February 25, 2005

Dead @ 17

There's been so much talk about this series, as well as its sequels, that I figured it was about time that I gave it a look. Oddly enough, I have a hard time finding what all of the rave reviews are about. This isn't a bad series at all, but it somehow feels like the story isn't as polished as it could be. The art, on the other hand, is a unique and intersting style that I haven't really seen on display. I like it, and I also think that the art is this four issue mini-series' greatest strength.

This is an odd little story about zombies, a heroine come back from the dead, a demonic power trying to enslave the human race, a cult, a group of friends, and a covert government team. There's a lot crammed into the 80 or so pages of this story and I think that because there is so much, it loses a lot of focus that I feel would have helped out this story.

While reading through, I kept trying to figure out if this was going to be a zombie story, or maybe it was a character study of our returned from the dead heroine, or maybe it was a teen drama with the undead thrown in the mix, or maybe it was about stopping a malevolent power from overtaking the human race, or maybe it was an exploration of the occult. So many of these styles got mixed and matched together that I found it hard to really invest myself in the story. There were also a lot of moments where I had to really suspend my disbelief to identify with what was going on because some interactions just didn't seem natural or felt forced.

Even though the story was a little lackluster, the art was something unique and is easily Josh Howard's biggest strength. The best way to describe his style would be to call it very angular and cartoonish with a manga inspired feel to it. Usually I'd really dislike this style, but it's oddly appealing. There's not a ton of detail to his style either, but for some reason I still like it. Maybe it's because it is something different than what I'm usually exposed to on an everyday basis in what I read, but somehow Howard's art feels a cut above the rest.

So I really don't know how to properly judge the overall package of this mini. On one hand, the story really feels lacking and amatuerish, yet it is competently done. On the other hand, the art is something new and interesting and worth seeing. In the end, I guess these two things offset each other to create a decent overall mini.

Art: 4
Story: 2.5
Overall: 3

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