Zombies have plenty of solid uses in graphic fiction. They’re a qualified source of evil for the protagonist to dispatch. They come in all shapes and sizes to suit the needs of the action. And – because there’s little investment in defining where they’ve come from and precisely where they’re heading – they’re a quick and easy creation: once it’s been established the story treads in zombie territory, the real drama can begin in high gear.
(WARNING: This review will contain minor spoilers mostly for the purposes of detailing the plot.)
Gilbert Hernandez’s FATIMA : THE BLOOD SPINNERS (Part 1 of 4) posits a not-too-distant future world where regular folks – already embracing drug use – get hooked on the newest street traffic, a potion called ‘Spin.’ The trouble is that ‘Spin’ is highly addictive, and, once it crashes the human nervous system, it essential turns the user into a flesh-eating zombie. If that ain’t bad enough, there’s no known cure.
Drug Enforcement Agents of tomorrow are equipped with super-high-tech wizardry which includes radar-invisible craft and smart-suits that grant the wearer limited powers of invisibility (it lasts for only so long). Enter Fatima – a hot chick / agent who’s bent on taking down the drug powers that be. She’s created her own family within the agency, and that amounts to a bevy of equally hot chicks with guns. Together, they’re on track to take down the baddies … if they can survive the zombie hordes on the streets of tomorrow.
Hernandez serves double-duty here – he’s author AND artist. SPINNERS is tale told entirely in black-and-white, an obvious homage to some of the more classic cinematic tales exploring the world of the living dead. His style is slim and uncomplicated; one could make the case that its mostly feverish scribblings, and he wouldn’t be too far off track. Hernandez sticks to only the barest bones in presentation here, and, for what it’s worth, it works just fine. This first issue is largely told in Fatima ’s flashback; there’s a drug lord named Bittermeat, some hotties in bikinis, blazing handguns, and plenty of zombies for target practice. There isn’t a lot of depth, but, stylistically, it’s clear that there isn’t much intended, either.
RECOMMENDED. Granted, Hernandez’s sparse artistic styling takes some getting used to, but, once you’ve adjusted, THE BLOOD SPINNERS is a clever enough yarn – part zombie tale, part apocalypse tale, part secret agent tale. It’s certainly structured like any good first installment – introduce the character, the world, the situation – and set things up for what’s to come. On that front, it works just fine. How interesting (or relevant) might it all be? That’ll depend upon the delivery of the subsequent chapters.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics provided me with a digital advance copy of FATIMA : THE BLOOD SPINNERS by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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