28 Days Later #1
Written by Michael Alan Nelson
Art by Declan Shalvey
Colors by Nick Filardi
Lettering by Ed Dukeshire
Published by BOOM! Studios
Release Date on August 26, 2009
Review by David Pepose
If you like zombie comics, chances are you probably like 28 Days Later. The Danny Boyle film really cemented the zombie zeitgeist in today's popular culture -- bolstered in later works such as The Walking Dead, Marvel Zombies, and now Blackest Night -- as speedy, highly-virulent hordes of the Infected roamed throughout England.
With that sort of legacy to uphold, producing a licensed comic for this franchise couldn't have been easy. But with 28 Days Later #1, BOOM! Studios has created a book that feels so true to the original film, and in so doing, gives the franchise a brand new lease on undead life.
The secret of that success has to be Michael Alan Nelson, who brings back Selena, one of the protagonists from the first film. It's obvious from the get-go that Nelson knows Selena's voice -- "You're going to London?" she shouts at a reporter. "You don't need a guide. You need a vicar!" But Nelson's original characters -- a band of reporters looking for the truth about the Infected -- also fit into the tone of this world. All in all, the violence isn't pervasive -- yet -- but Nelson sets up an atmosphere of suspense that pays off in a big way.
Declan Shalvey, while a fairly new name in the industry, is a perfect fit on this book. He's at his best with scenes of emotion, including one beautifully silent page where Selena finally decides to return to infected England. Shalvey's use of shadow is tremendous, and it helps lend a sense of impending doom to the issue. While I think a scene with a helicopter and a jet plane weren't the most fantastic, I'm not going to knock points off a story element that probably won't be seen again in this series -- it's the people that matter, and whether it's tears being shed or the Infected attacking in all their bloody glory, he does some great stuff. Meanwhile, colorist Nick Filardi gives the book the same gritty, hopeless feel as the films, but uses a white background to great advantage in the last page of the book.
If you haven't seen the 28 Days Later film yet, you probably won't understand this book -- but considering how powerful the source material for this book is, that means its your responsibility to stop what you're doing, and get yourself a copy of the first film. But if you like this movie -- and especially if you didn't like the second movie, 28 Weeks Later -- BOOM! Studios has produced their own superior sequel to the 28 Days Later films that, like its sprinting hordes of the not-so-undead, is a scary piece of work that is truly infectious.