I was lured into iZombie #1 by two things: 1) a Darwyn Cooke cover and 2) a $1.00 price tag. After picking this book off the shelf I noticed that the author was Chris Roberson, of recent Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love fame, and the immensely talented artist Mike Allred, author and penciller of Madman Atomic Comics. It suffice to say that this book rocketed from slightly piqued interest to full-blown excitement in zero to sixty. I wished I had tempered my expectations though because I ended up slightly disappointed.
There’s nothing really wrong with this issues. It’s just that first issues are usually hard sells and this is no exception. There so much to do in first issues: you have to introduce your main character, gives your audience glimpses of a supporting cast, start world building, set up certain parameters that give your audiences a guideline for what is possible in the context of the story, start sowing the seeds for plot beats, create tension and maybe even allude to certain themes that you think should resonate with your readers. Most importantly you have to do all this but do so in a way that weaves a story that doesn’t come off contrived. iZombie attempts to do so but it doesn’t come as elegantly as anyone would like. It doesn’t feel so much as the start of a story but the prologue for one.
To be fair, first issues aren’t usually elegant. iZombie #1 feels like it will be an issue that, when reread, will rise and fall depending on the arc that proceeds it. It does do a lot of things right. It is populated with really interesting and creative characters that I already love. There’s Gwen who is gravedigger by day and zombie by night (or at least zombie by night once a month), Elle the ghosts from the late 60’s, Spot the pathetic were-terrier who has it bad for Gwen and of course the mysterious vampire girls who run a paint ball field. It subverts the zombie genre with a really creative but simple twist. Gwen has to eat brains once a month so that she herself won’t lose her mind (and go, quote, “all night of the living dead).However as a result of eating someone’s brain she acquires their memories for a week.
And then there is the art. My god the art! I know Mike Allred’s art may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I love it. At first glance it is deceptively simple but if you look closer there is a wealth of detail to be gleamed. All in all this issue is successful in that it has definitely caught my interest and I intend to pick up issue 2.
Final Verdict: C+