Monday, May 06, 2019

Train 8 The Zombie Express #2 review by Steven Leitman

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Train 8 The Zombie Express #2
Bliss On Tap Publishing/ BPositive Films 2018
Created & Written by David Stephan & Marysol Levant
Illustrated by Alex Cormack
Coloured by Ashley & Alex Cormack
Lettered by Ales Murillo

    Train 8 speeds through the wilds of northern Idaho, barrellingthrough its scheduled stops. Confused and panicked, a group of surviving passengers have barricaded themselves into the last Observation Car. Unable to contact the Engine cab, the Train Conductor plans to lead a volunteer group to the front of the Train. If they can stop the Train, they will survive this nightmare...or so they think. 

     While I do love the idea here, every time I look at the book all I can think of is Train to Busan which was Bloody Brilliant for a new genre of zombie film and that it was in Korean that didn’t deter me from enjoying the hell out of it. Now that being said there are a number of things that set this apart from that feature film. I like the way that this book is structured as well as the oversized issues so that they can fit more into an issue while allowing it to feel right. By right I mean there is a logical stopping point in the story leaving the reader saying “wait what no, that’s it!” and wanting more. 

     I like that we see this being told from multiple angles and not just from inside the train itself. Although that’s really where all the action is. It could have worked that way but I like that they have noticed the runaway train and making attempts at stopping it. Plus with all the technology at their disposal finding patient zero and tracing back to maybe finding a cure or at the very least destroy all the work is definitely being utilised well. Plus it gives us a look at new characters and I for one appreciate that break from the terror on the train.

     The characterisation here is marvellous! We see all the personality types and some that are floating up and down between them. Fear can do some serious damage if you let it, or you can step up find that inner strength you didn’t know you had and as the phrase goes “man up.” So that we have those we want to see be eaten, such a terrible thing to say lol, and those we are rooting for, which is dangerous since they always seem to die, all based on the characterisation which is their dialogue and their actions.

     I am a huge fan of Alex and the work that he does. It has been a privilege and an honour to see him grow as an artist. This one is a tad older yet you can see those flashes where you are like, hot damn this guy is good! The way he’s able to manipulate the varying weights of the linework to coax out this stunning attention to detail is so much fun to see. The panel construction here is something else, I mean through the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show us his stellar eye for storytelling, but it’s how the panels are constructed, utilised (see backgrounds) that make this book as effective as it is. Also it is surprisingly gore free though there is plenty of blood and that leads me to the colour work we see in these pages. This too is exceptionally well done and the way that the train’s limited light sources are utilised and how we see the intensity and horror they do is magnificent.

     This is a well developed story with a strong plot and direction. I am hugely impressed with the characterisation and the characters use of their own minds and abilities here. Instead of laying down waiting to die a horrible and gruesome death they have a plan but the question remains can they do anything to stop the train and get out alive while not letting the zombies out?