The Asylum is an American independent film studio and distributor known for making fairly inexpensive knock-offs of popular movies. Transformers was all the rage in the cinema and The Asylum released, direct to video, the Transmorphers. One of the key signatures of The Asylum is they embrace the low-budget nature of their “mockbusters” inserting plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour and a healthy dose of not taking themselves too seriously.
So naturally, when the Walking Dead made a HUGE debut at AMC, The Asylum took notice. Enter Z Nation, a derivative zombie apocalypse TV show, capitalizing on the Walking Dead popularity but having it’s own schlocky charm and humour. Two seasons of Z Nation has been aired on Syfy with a third season and a TV movie ordered and in production. With the success of the Walking Dead comic book and Z Nation doing well on TV was a Z Nation comic book far behind? Nope.
Dynamite’s Z Nation #1 is solicited to debut in Local Comic Shops on April 12th, 2017 written by Craig Engler, co-creator of Z Nation and Fred Van Lente (Archer & Armstrong, Power Man and Iron Fist). The comic opens up one year into the Zombie infestation. All governments have collapsed, everyone is hungry and the world is about to have more zombies than people alive. At one National Guard camp survivors find information that could lead to a possible cache of Soylent-2 powdered emergency food. The nice callback to the Charlton Heston movie is not lost on me and is in keeping with the type of humour found in the TV show. So, a small team head off to bring back the stockpile and, of course, encounter Zs.
The artwork from Edu Menna (Twilight Zone, Army of Darkness) is serviceable with a standard comic book style coloured well by Sal Aiala. And while one or two characters from the TV show appear in the comic this first tale stands alone. The comic does not shy away from the TV show’s signature blood splats with lots of Zombie smashing action. Decent first issue but I wish it had just a bit more of the charm of the show. I am definitely interested in checking out issue #2 so the main goal of any first issue is fulfilled – it makes you want more.
Issue: Z Nation #1 | Publisher: Dynamite
Writers: Craig Engler & Fred Van Lente | Artist: Edu Menna & Sal Aiala
Letterer: Simon Bowland | Editor: Joseph Rybandt