From the moment I read the first issue of “The New Deadwardians,” I knew it was a series worthy of my time. I am sent at least ten to twenty comic books and graphic novels to read a week. As many can understand, it’s impossible to keep up with them on a regular basis. Therefore, I have to make my wish list of books I want to come back to when they’re released in a graphic novel form. Vertigo Comics’ collection of the eight issues of the mini-series has now granted one of the wishes on that list.
Chief Inspector George Suttle has the most boring job a detective could have in an alternate reality post-Victorian London. He’s the head of homicide in a world where everyone is already dead. A catastrophic event began turning people into zombies after the war. The only way to keep yourself from turning into a member of the walking dead is by taking the “cure.” However, the “cure” turns you into a vampire.
Suttles’ boredom comes to an end when the body of a dead vampire is found. The only problem is there’s no sign of how he was killed. You can only destroy vampires in one of three ways… and none of them were used to kill this one. Can Suttles solve the mystery before he becomes a victim of the murderer as well?
Writer Dan Abnett has taken two horror sub genres many would consider done to death and breathed new life into them through his unique spin on the subjects. Genre fans have lost their appetite for zombies and vampires thanks to hundreds of “Night of the Living Dead” impersonators and the “Twilight” movies. Abnett cleverly takes these two overused monsters and blends them with a complex murder mystery in an alternate universe. As I was reading it, I couldn’t help but think, “What a great movie this would make!”
Artist I.N.J. Culbard’s illustrating style perfectly fits the period piece setting of “The New Deadwardians.” His work is unique and classy, while still being outrageous through the use of splashes of gore here and there. I can’t quite pinpoint it, but Culbard’s drawings are what I imagine comic book art in post-Victorian England would look like.
Readers who enjoy zombies, vampires, and murder mysteries will love “The New Deadwardians.” This isn’t George Romero’s or Stephenie Meyer’s typical takes on these classic creatures. If you think you’ve had all you can take of zombies and vampires, I ask you take give them one last chance outside of the box they’re usually put in.