Dead@17: The Complete First Series

June 14, 2004 | Trades


Dead@17: The Complete First Series
Josh Howard
Viper Comics
$14.95 US (Paperback)
**** (out of five)

You’ve just got to admire a creator who has the courage to kill their title’s hero just five pages into the first book.
Of course, when the premise of the series revolves greatly around the dead rising from the grave, there’s really no reason not to kick things off with a bang.
Dead@17, a terrific new spin on horror comics, brings us two fresh new faces, writer/illustrator Josh Howard and publisher Viper Comics.
After years of self-professed futility in trying to break into mainstream comics, Howard’s first big hit shows he has a talent for both drawing cute, big-eyed heroines and for creating a fast-paced and highly compelling story. Viper, a Texas-based independent publisher that has been around since December 2001, has definitely found a foundation to build around.
The story revolves around Nara, the slain teen, and her surprising rise from the dead. But while Nara’s strange resurrection leads her into a web of mystery and horror (featuring some very unusual neck-biting zombies), the friendship between Nara, her best friend Hazy and possible love interest Elijah is what makes this title work. Everybody and their monkey can make another zombie book (and it seems these days they’re trying), but making characters that are compelling and likeable isn’t easy.
There’s no doubt this series also leans heavily on sex appeal, with near nudity a fairly regular occurrence.
While reasonably brief, this collection, which reprints the elusive first four issues of this red-hot title, does offer a lot to work with and the sequel, Dead@17: Blood Of Saints, is already being released in single-issue form monthly from Viper.
A superb first effort, Dead@17 is sure to hack and slash its way into your heart.

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