We’re catching up with the Haskins family on the eve of the fourth Dead Day, a night when the dead rise from the grave to walk the earth. This first issue begs the question: is such an event a blessing, or a curse? Should the people of Pewter Falls be afraid? Or should they welcome their returned loved ones with open arms?
It’s not often there’s a legitimate new take on a zombie story, so I’m pleased to say that this feels like a noticeably different idea. A night when the dead leave their graves being presented as a holiday rather than a freak occurrence makes for a welcome change, allowing Dead Day to feel like an entry into an existing world rather than retelling the age-old first zombie appearance.
Perhaps Melissa Haskins says it best with “Honey, when the sun sets, some people do come back, but just to have fun and see their families…”. It’s a noticeable change from what you might expect in a zombie book — how often do we see the dead coming back to socialize?
Despite the presentation of Dead Day as a holiday — albeit a holiday that comes along at random times predicted by The Revivalists — there are some clear indications that not everything is what it seems. After all, why are the Haskins loading up on bullets while their neighbors are painting their doorways with goat’s blood if there’s nothing to worry about?
This contrast between attitudes works wonderfully to build all the tension and mystery you’d expect from a story like Dead Day, and also presents some down-to-earth elements you might not expect quite as much. This combination helps to create a persistent feeling throughout this first issue that something big is brewing in the distance and every character is waiting for something to happen.
Evgeniy Bornyakov’s artwork shines throughout, illustrating a great mix of everyday life and corpse-shambling-in-the-moonlight terror. This is only helped by Bornyakov’s great clear approach to inking and Juancho’s wonderful range of colors.
It’s also worth mentioning the back matter in this issue, which comes in the form of a leaflet providing information about preparing for Dead Day. It’s a great addition to the already well constructed world building on display.
There’s a ton of potential here, and other than some initial concerns that this is a series that may tread a little too closely to Revival, I can firmly say that I’m looking forward to seeing where this series will go in the often walked path of the living dead.