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Let's Tone Down Our Expectations Some...
on May 30, 2011
I am a huge HUGE fan of Mike Allred; I'll buy anything with his name on it. That said, you might not have as much enthusiasm as I do for him, and his art, in my opinion, is the main selling point for iZombie. I am a reluctant fan of the series. It's definitely not the first thing I'd recommend for those browsing for a new comic to read.
Chris Roberson has dipped his hand in many cookie jars, when it comes to literary genre's and mediums. He's written post-modern, mystery and science fiction novels, as well as numerous comic issues of Vertigo's Fables and related titles. I'm not exactly sure where his strengths lie, though sci-fi is his said preferred and most praised area of expertise. iZombie is not sci-fi, and I'm not sure he fully understands the comic medium enough to keep readers attention long enough to see the series through.
It's the pacing of the series, that for me, is all wrong. The characterization is solid, though I think a few characters are weak and generic. Also, not a whole lot happens. Aside from getting to know Gwen, her Friends and weird world they live in, 'Dead to the World' really doesn't offer much except a twist at the end that admittedly does make iZombie more interesting.
The premise is intriguing, but it's pretty simplistic, enough so, that it shouldn't take an entire 5 issue story arc to lay the foundation for it, which is all volume one really does. I'm not even sure it's necessary to read this arc to follow the rest of the series. The characters really don't need much of an introduction. The premise is pretty self-explanatory, and Gwen's self-revelation in issue #5, which could have easily of happened in issue 2, will be inevitably gone over and mentioned numerous times to keep new readers up to speed. 'Jumping On' points and keeping the continuity of a series accessible are both two things you can count on when it comes to most comics, especially Vertigo's.
The artwork is spectacular. Allred's 60's pop style is always a treat. It fits the series like a latex-glove, and does a top-notch job at distracting from how slow moving and slightly boring the story is.
I think the story has potential, but I'm waiting to see if the series will even last long enough to get better. Fables was kind of awful when it began. However, in time it grew into it's own, and it's totally awesome now.
If you're specifically interested in iZombie, it's worth a try. But if you're casually browsing comics and graphic novels, make sure you're collection is extensive enough to justify buying something so low on the must-own list.
Comic websites and forums are calling it a guilty pleasure. I call it a mild pleasure. I give it 3 stars, because (no offense to anyone) 5 star ratings aren't like ribbons at the Special Olympics. You don't get one just for participating. You can only set the bar so low before the ratings start to lose meaning. There are dozens of series that are much MUCH better. Unless you're saying iZombie is as good as Allred's Madman or Vertigo's American Vampire, than I just don't see how iZombie doesn't seem mediocre in comparison.