Aftershock Comics 2018
Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Oleg Okunev
Coloured by Rob Schwager
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
The year is 1353. The fugitive Roderick Helms has retreated to a life of hidden seclusion after failing to expose the Church's role in the Black Death. But something threatens to bring him back into action. Something that has risen which will threaten to transform the waning plague into a far more darker and sinister crisis. And that something is none other than Satan himself!
Oh my this is one of those series where alternate history isn’t an apt word to describe it. I mean the Black Plague turned people into zombies and upon recovering the Holy Grail it was used to reverse the effects and return people to their living state. Yes the Holy Grail was indeed a miracle worker only the Pope didn’t see it as such and apparently didn’t want the souls of the dead returned to them he only wanted the Grail for himself. Which is pretty much in league with how I see the Pope and the Church. All about power and with the Grail the Pope held more power than he ever rightly should.
Frank’s vision for this is rather remarkable and how he’s able to bring it to life through his imagination and creativity not to mention skill as a storyteller or dreamweaver as it were. From the violence, destruction and blind ambition of those we see here come the tales of love, loss and utter hopelessness and it’s simply magnificent. The opening is stunning as we witness Cardinal Shaw’s last act, it is definitely something that grabs the readers attention and makes us want to see more. Dramatic as can be it’s what ensures that we want to see more.
I do like the fact that this issue is also new reader friendly. If you’ve not read the first run that’s okay, you can get the trade, because this issue takes us back and does a nice job of reminding readers of what’s come before. So if you are an old fan or finding this for the first time this is going to be something you’ll never forget. The way that this is structured is extremely well done. From that memorable opening to seeing more of The Risen who are now led by Sir Richard Moore we see how the story can develop and how it will reunite the warriors three who are now the only ones left. The ebb & flow of this is spectacular and like the river Styx it costs to take this ride,
I love what Oleg is doing with the interiors here and the way he’s able to manipulate the linework with varying weights to create some of the most fabulous subtlety so that the intricacy of what we shines through is amazing. The creativity and imagination he possesses is something that brings this to life in a way you’ll never forget either. After all it’s one thing to be able to realise zombies it’s another to bring that character to life making the shiver. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows this stellar eye for storytelling. Oh backgrounds that we see do more to expand the story, the moment and the overall vibe astounds me.
Well this book certainly takes a weird route but you know what I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is always a method inside the madness that’s for sure and Frank’s doing some black magic here and while the characterisation, plot and story development move gaily forward it seems like it just makes us want more. Honestly with The Walking Dead on it’s way out I’d much prefer something like this instead as the historical aspects and the multitude of angles in which the story can be told makes this something beyond horror, beyond historical fiction and into the realm of cult status.