The Theater #1
Created/Written by: Raven Gregory
Pencils by: Martin Montiel and Novo Malgado
Colors by: Michael Garcia
Letters by: Crank!
This is a different series from Zenescope. While they are the same publishers of Grimm Tales of Terror and this is still a horror comic book, the style of the book is different…at least in this issue. There are no buxom babes with great tans and full curves actually in this issue. IF the “pin-up girl” type sexy chicks in scanty clothes thrust into deadly situations is NOT your cup of tea, you can still get your dose of horror with this particular issue, although, some of the covers for this issue still utilize that art style. Personally, that stuff doesn’t offend me. It’s a preference, a style of art, just like the nude ancient Greek statues or new school versus traditional tattoos, Impressionism, Realism, etc. Comic book art styles widely vary not only by the type of art but, also the colorist that collaborates with each artist. That being the case, it’s nice to explore and experience different artists and their unique styles, even though there are almost always favorites. So, why don’t we explore a little…
This is a grizzly tale of survival, love, loyalty and terror. It’s a gory drama of a father and son, their survival through the worst of times and their undying love for each other.
But first, the lead in…
We join a couple on a date to the movies. They have the whole theater to themselves. It’s not a top dollar place but still, it’s functional. The have purchased tickets to see a horror film called, “The Change”. And this is where our REAL story begins.
It is 2025. Mankind has barely survived extinction. Over the course of ten years a weird virus that reanimates dead people and basically turns them into flesh eating zombies has led to the death of billions of people. The rest of the people go into hiding while the government eventually fights off all the undead using state of the art biological warfare. As humanity starts to rebuild, new laws are put in place to prevent the return of the virus. All the zombies have been destroyed. All but one…
Enter father and son. It’s been three months since the last sighting of any infection. They hear on the radio that the war is over and they are now in a safe zone. Dad doesn’t want to just believe what he hears from the press and the government (imagine that) so he goes outside to check. All is clear and it seems, over time, life is well on it’s way to returning to normal.
The son, David and his father eventually return to their daily living. After the war (the virus outbreak), they have a farm and raised chickens. They hunt for rabbits and such for food as well. In fact, one day, while out doing just that, David hears his father cry out his name and he looks up to find himself face to face with this truly hideous creature. Its flesh is practically gone, all gooey and crimson and drippy looking. It has the nastiest rotted creature teeth you could imagine in what was once a human being. This “thing” has only about half its clothes left clinging to its poisoned body. Its grotesque fingers, scraggly reaching for David.
Dad runs up and whacks it in the side of the face with the stock of his rifle. Instructing David to run home immediately he turns his head. In that moment, the zombie creature lurches forward and bites him at the shoulder. This makes Dad so enraged that he beats the zombie back to death.
David and his father quickly bury the body before anyone else finds out that there has been an attack.
They go back inside the house where the father goes into the bathroom and with a Crocodile Dundee knife, tries slicing and chopping the infected meat from his shoulder. Then his son brings him what looks like a red-hot fire poker and he sears the gaping wound shut as best he can, then puts on a bandage. (Funny how the Dad does all this like it’s nothing, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Kinda creepy.)
Over time, Dad gets sicker as the infection of the virus takes over his body. Eventually, they sit down and have a talk. Dad explains that there is still a possibility that he will change and they need to prepare. David prepares a room with a table chair in it, as he was told to do.
His Dad sits down and has David tie him tightly to the chair. He further instructs that IF he does change into a zombie or gets loose from the chair and subsequently the room, David must do what needs to be done and hands him a gun.
More time passes and David is tasked with killing his father…but, he doesn’t. His father changes but, David tries to keep life normal. He continues to deliver eggs to the grocery store in town and do the work around the house and shopping. And he spends time with his DAD. He tries to talk to him, play cards and he feeds him.
Eventually, Mr. Young, the grocery store owner, comes to check on them, seeing as how it’s been weeks since the Dad has made an appearance in town. David lies to him, telling him everything is okay and sends him on his way.
Later, David finds a letter his Dad wrote him before he changed. He tells him how much he loves him and that he’s proud of him. He understands why David couldn’t do what needs to be done but, there is another way. He knows that Mr. Young will come to visit. He writes that David should let him in, tell him what’s happened and Mr. Young will take care of it.
But, David doesn’t let him in. And nothing gets done about Dad. After reading the letter David goes to sleep. He wakes up and decides he CAN do this and grabs the gun and heads to the room holding his father.
He opens the door, preparing himself for what he is about to do…but, Dad…is gone. Now, with this infectious zombie running about, all of civilization is, once again, at deadly risk.
Blaming himself, David, weapon in hand, heads outside into the world…alone.
Now, we go back to our couple on their date. The movie (our story) is over, the lights in the theater have come on and they are chatting each other up about the movie. The guy asks the girl is she liked it and she says it was okay but, mentions that the theater smelled funny as they are walking out. As they are leaving they pass the janitor. He walks down the aisle to a few rows in front of where our couple sat. There’s dead bodies on the floor, slumped over in the seats, laying across seats…just everywhere. (No wonder the theater smelled funky. It was obviously more than stale popcorn and flat, spilled soda.)
And so, they have left…and clean up begins.
(We are left with a “To Be Continued” at the bottom of the last page.)
I really enjoyed this as a first issue in a series. It was very well written and moved along at a great pace but, still provided so much detail. The twists from Zenescope’s writers are always good and they are masters at keeping you on your toes.
The artwork in this issue REALLY brings the idea of humanity on the brink of extinction and mankind trying to rebuild after extreme devastation to life. The colors are practically pale and almost lifeless which just furthers the thought that death is all around. Although it’s not the normal style I am used to I still appreciate the impact it brings to the tale.
All in all, I am very pleased with this first issue and I’m looking forward to getting deeper into the series.
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