‘Rot & Ruin #1’ Comic Review
Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin is the tale of a young man, Benny Imura, and his ragtag group of friends who are trying to survive in this post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world. So 15 years ago, the zombies were all like, “Hey. We’re gonna rise from the dead and stuff.” Bad news. Now, there are seven billion zombies and only 30,000 humans. I’m no math wizard, but it doesn’t seem like the odds are in the favor of the human race. Over the course of 15 years, Benny was raised by his older brother Tommy, who also helped to build Mountainside (one of nine towns many of the survivors now call home). For years, they thought these nine towns were all that was left; everything beyond that was known as the great Rot and Ruin.
Boy, were they wrong. Benny and his friends see a jumbo jet fly across the sky. Hmmm. Jumbo jet, in the sky. Seems like there might be more out there besides zombies and death. Finally – and, man, do I mean finally – we are at the start of this comic book.
Rot & Ruin features some pretty strong writing, even if we’ve seen a lot of this before in other media – TV, film, books… Hell, other comic books, even (these zombies are slow, dim-witted, and attracted to sound and smell). The beginning of this book feels especially worn and redundant, but then an odd thing happens. It begins to grow on you. At no point did I find myself falling out of my chair and worshipping this book’s graces, but it did become different and enjoyable. The characterization is strong, a matter of vital importance in zombie tales. The story is almost never about the zombies but rather about the survivors and their human drama. The characters grow on you, and not in a warty kinda way. I’m more intrigued by that than a lot of the other parts of this book. But the cliffhanger is fun.
Tony Vargas’ art can sometimes be rough and cartoony but detailed and fun. I couldn’t quite decide if I liked it or not. The layout for the first few pages is fantastic. A blade that slowly moves across the page as you read but is also an important part of the story process, is genius. Hands-down, my favorite part of the book. If this is what he has to offer in this first issue, the rest of the series is going to have some great art moments.
More than anything else, this book made me want to know more of the backstory; it seemed like there was so much crammed onto the intro page before the story got started. So, I looked up the author and this title and find there’ve been four novels published since 2010. I am so out of the loop. I want to go back, read those, and then tackle this series.
Rot & Ruin starts off a little rough but really begins to build. I can only assume that, if you’re a fan of the books, you’ll love this. I’m partially interested in continuing this series now but moreso after I catch up on the previous books.