For this review I’m doing something a little different and I will actually be reviewing issue #1 of the comic book adaptation of Lucio Fulci’s Zombie. Since comics are such a different medium than films I felt it didn’t make sense to use the same star rating system I typically use for films. So for this review I will be omitting that entirely and simply letting the review speak for itself.
Most Horror fans are already well acquainted with Fulci’s classic film and those of you who aren’t should become so in a hurry. Issue #1 covers about the first quarter or so of the film’s storyline which, for the uninitiated, is as follows: A seemingly abandoned sailboat floats into a New York City harbor and before long it’s lone zombie passenger begins spreading the infection to others. Meanwhile, Ann Bowels, the adult daughter of the ship’s conspicuously absent owner, teams up with investigative journalist Peter West to solve the mystery of what really happened to her father.
The comic stays quite true to the source material but this is by no means a shot-for-shot retelling and some adjustments were certainly made from the original film. However, that is not meant as a criticism because the tweaks and adjustments that were made, most of which minor, work entirely to the benefit of the story.
The largest change is undoubtedly the Voodoo-themed opening which does not appear at all in the film but does a fantastic job of setting the delightfully gruesome tone for the comic. In addition it also establishes the importance of the Voodoo mythology as a central theme and integral part of the story. Writer/editor Stephen Romano keeps the pacing tight with a storyline that pays appropriate homage to the film while also moving the plot along effectively. By virtue of the medium, the comic is also able to delve into the thoughts and backstories of the characters a bit, thereby adding a layer of depth to their experiences.
As with any form of zombie art, the gore is a key element. I knew going into this that it would be a determining factor in deciding if this was a worthy adaptation or not. While the effects of the original film may seem somewhat dated by today’s standards, there is no denying their visceral brutality as Fulci took them to gloriously graphic levels. Well, I am happy to report that the comic does not disappoint and gleefully soaks the pages in waves of crimson brutality. The art is well-rendered and visceral and perfectly captures the uninhibitedly gruesome tone of the film.
Also included at the end is an article in which Romano discusses the backstory of how this adaptation came to be in the first place, which is in and of itself is an interesting read. All in all a great adaptation and an excellent first issue that does justice to the film and kicks the series off right!