Zombies Versus Aliens
By Chris Ryall
Art by Drew Moss
Colors by Jay Fotos
Letters by Tom B. Long
Cover by Dave Sim
Varient cover by John Byrne
The title The Colonized might not immediately grab your attention, but its subtitle, “Zombies Versus Aliens,” sure will – at least that’s what did it for me. The Colonized #1 kicks off a new four-issue miniseries from IDW, where, you guessed it, it’s a battle between zombies and aliens!
A spaceship carrying friendly aliens on a mission of peace is about to make first contact with what they believe is humankind. The little green men initiate their tracter beam, about to meet and greet an Earthling, only to find that what they’ve pulled in is neither dead nor alive – it’s a zombie!
Down on the surface in the U.S. state of Montana, as a militia of separatists mourns the loss of their leader, the aforementioned alien spacecraft crash-lands nearby, shocking the mourners, who come face-to-face with not only the outer spacemen, but the reanimated body of one of their own!
Having worked on titles like Zombies vs. Robots, Mars Attacks, and the Area 51-centered miniseries Groom Lake, writer Chris Ryall obviously knows both his zombies and his aliens, so it seems only natural that he would now combine the two.
Thankfully, it does it well. Ryall gives us a lot of set-up in this first issue, briefly introducing us to the aliens with only a dash of zombie, instead focusing on the separatist militia, the Carbon Falls Collective in Montana. I definitely wasn’t in love with this group, though I don’t think the reader is supposed to be endeared to these people, many of whom come across as mindless rednecks. I do get the feeling I’m going to eventually really dig their presumptive leader, Huxley, who wants to take the collective in a more progressive direction in life. On the panels centering on the humans, we get Huxley’s narration, which reveals a more educated, articulate man, as opposed to the person who talks to his group with convoluted statements like “Could be that you lot ain’t interest in even giving me a shot to find that out.”
There’s a lot of trucker hats and rifles, along with some regional colloquialisms that were really foreign to this New Yorker (“Humpin’ these boonies takes it out of me now”), so it took some getting used to. Thanks to Daryl Dixon on AMC’s The Walking Dead, everyone suddenly loves rednecks, fantasizing that deep inside each one there’s really a caring, baby-cradling softy, but I’m guessing – and hoping – that most of the good ol’ boys of Carbon Falls are going to be zombie lunch. Sorry, but they can’t all be Daryl Dixons.
The aliens are your classic scifi almond-eyed green spacemen in bubble helmets, drawn perfectly by Drew Moss, who previously worked on Zombies vs. Robots Annual, with colors mixed just right by Jay Foto. Along with how they converse, the look of these aliens made me love them. Also, when I began reading the issue, one of the first things to grab me, aside from the cool covers from Dave Sim (Cerebus) and the “Zombies Versus Aliens” subtitle, was the lettering for the aliens’ dialogue. A huge thumbs up to Tom B. Long for the creative way he renders the aliens’ grand sentiments, like the theatrically stated “Prosperity beckons!,” by placing dots inside the O’s and zigzagging the S’s. It takes a good artist to letter all the dialogue neatly and in the appropriate places in art-heavy pages in a series like The Colonized, and adding these little touches makes a huge difference to the overall presentation.
A premise like the one for The Colonized is just too good to ignore, especially when it’s bolstered by great writing, cool art, eye-catching covers, and fun lettering. Zombies vs. Aliens vs. Rednecks – bring it on!