Rating: 3.5/5 – What if the Zombie Apocalypse Only Affected Children?
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.
Imagine a world where a zombie plague strikes and it only affects children. How would the world react knowing that there may not be a future generation? What would the parents of the affected children do, seeing their little innocent children turn into bloodthirsty monsters? How would world governments manage and contain the outbreak and the subsequent fallout? These are just some of the questions writer Pierre Boisserie attempts to address in The Rage, a book that tackles the little explored premise of zombie children in what a character in the book calls the “kindergarten apocalypse.”
The book immediately hooked me with an action packed opening sequence that introduces this world ravaged by a zombie plague. Boisserie sets up a story that focuses on both zombified children and a world that has somewhat contained the threat by setting up safe zones and isolating plague victims. I think both of these premises have been mostly overlooked in popular zombie media, but it’s understandable. Seeing children transformed into monsters and subsequently slain probably wouldn’t sit well with most people, particularly in film or television. Also, a world where the zombie threat hasn’t completely overrun societal institutions doesn’t seem like it would leave a lot of room for the gorefest people come to expect from the genre. Boisserie manages to provide plenty of tense, gory moments, though, as he shifts between the initial outbreak and the current state of things to fill in the gaps and flesh out this world. He uses a sympathetic protagonist to straddle these two time periods and I found her to be the only real likeable character in the book, other characters seemed flat or one-dimensional, though to be fair I guess everyone would react differently to an apocalypse. I think Boisserie introduced some interesting concepts like the green zone, which makes sense since humanity is basically fighting a war, and that the zombie “virus” exhibits a yet to be fully explored progression. Still, for me the initial outbreak remains the most interesting part of this tale and while reading I found that I continually wanted to return to that part of the story.
The art by Malo Kerfriden was good, though I think the book could have benefited from art that is more detailed and stylized. I’ll admit that I’m a big fan of gore and while there was plenty of flesh ripping and blood to satisfy that need, the gore seemed rather vague and indistinct. I also had trouble a couple times determining the shift in time periods. While this isn’t necessarily the artist’s domain, maybe a slight change in Boubette’s color palette could have signaled the change.
I think Boisserie’s entry into the zombie field was pretty good, if not particularly groundbreaking. His storytelling has a cinematic flair to it, which moves the story along nicely, and it definitely worked in his favor to release the first part of the story in a 48-page, ad free volume. I would have liked the story to concentrate more on how the virus came to be and how it only affects children rather than the extra pages focusing on the various military excursions, though most zombie stories typically skip over the “how”, it’s a common part of the genre. It does look like the ending of this volume sets up a more child heavy next act and that is something I look forward to.
Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
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