Please welcome Herman Muir to the STR team! Look for his reviews each week and listen for his voice on our upcoming podcast!!!
Let me say that I am a fan of zombies, fantasy, Sci-fi and near about anything that you can think of that could creep, crawl, or gnaw its way into the marrow of your bones. I read this graphic from cover to cover in one sitting but I am going to have to break it out into its three parts to make this review a bit more than a thumbs up or thumbs down.
Section 1: Knights of the living Dead
King Arthur and Zombies. I have to say that I was excited when I looked over the cover. There is a blood red sword and a kingdom of zombies that are coming to get you . . or so I thought. The story itself was ok, however slightly deceiving. Merlin is the narrator. Arthur is shown as a hollowed out shell of a man that is unable to recover from his mistakes and reveling in the pain and misery that they have brought him.
The tale begins with him waiting for one of his biggest mistakes, Lancelot and Guinevere’s romance, to play out before his eyes with their escape. The shining hero carrying away the maiden fair, with zombies. The art works for the creatures and the usage of an almost stained glass look to the flashbacks works for most of it to tell the back story. I felt that the characterization of Merlin was good.
I became annoyed at the point where I realized that the story did not end. A portion of the story is Arthur being useless. A minor portion is Guinevere ascending to the throne in place of Arthur. Then the rest of the story has a huge setup with the explanation of the zombie hoards. The part I enjoyed covered the tainting of Merlin, which was the end of the section. Had the next section picked up where this left off I could have forgiven most of this. However it ended and none of the rest of the sections resolve what transpired in the first. I am assuming that since this volume was a part one maybe this will be resolved later ,but honestly it is a pass on reading unless this gets bundled into a completed version of the story.
Section 2: Clearing the Land
This section was disappointing. There isn’t much to say since nothing happens. The majority of this section talks about Guinevere and her most beautiful maids. This phrase is said a little too often. By the end of the section I assumed that your ability to fight was based on your looks. Attractive women fight well!
The stories are told in a similar stained glass approach, only the characters have balloon comments as they are taking out creatures and they are drawn in a way that makes it something I would put at the end of the book to give an explanation of characters. They seem out of place and can really be ignored unless you like looking at pictures of good looking women in medieval garb with a single kill scene.
There is the beginning of a story about the farmers and how they are the people killing the
remaining zombies, but that is glossed over too quickly to get any substance out of it. I will also say that this was a pass for me.
Section 3: In the Deep, Deep Shallows
With everything I have said about the previous sections, this stands on its own and I enjoyed it quite a bit. There are no zombies, so do not get your hopes up, but the story is worth the read. This section is loosely tied to the others as it is the tale of the Lady of the Lake through the eyes of a bard. The narrator is the bard in question and how his life is shaped by the Lady of the Lake. He fears her and yet is drawn to her at the same time knowing that something is no quite right with her. The story weaves through his life starting in the middle with flashbacks to his past and ending as he ages and joins her.
The art was well done and compliments the stories that the lady tells the bard. As a young boy they are shown as he would see them in his head with an anime style to when he is old and they are far more detailed with the drawings having the edges of cut glass. I like the reference to Loch Ness as well. To be honest it is well thought out and could almost be its own book.
I will have to say that if you are looking for a zombie book this is not going to do it for you. Too much lead up with not enough to finish it off. If you want to read a cool tale about the lady of the lake it is worth taking a look.
Interested in reading the first part for free? you can download it from Slave Labor Graphics right here.