Aftershock Comics 2020
Written & Created by Ryan Parrott
Illustrated by Evgeniy Bornyakov
Coloured by Juancho!
Lettered by Charles Pritchett
If the dead could come back for just one night, would we want them to?
Meet the Haskins, a seemingly normal suburban family, as they prepare for the annual macabre holiday known as “Dead Day" – when the deceased rise from the grave from sunset to sunrise. Some come back to reunite with family and friends, others for one last night of debauchery, still others with only one thing on their decomposing mind: revenge.
I love a good zombie story and until now I thought I'd seen it all but thanks to the brilliance that is Ryan Parrott it turns out we haven’t. Not by a longshot thank goodness too because it just means that we still have so much original stories to read. I wasn’t sure what to expect except first impressions based upon the cover and that doesn’t tell us much. Then again if you’ve ever read any of Ryan’s work you know that he’s so good at revealing not while letting you in on the secrets.
The way that this is being told is utterly fascinating. The story & plot development we see through how the sequence of events unfold and how the reader learns information is exceptionally well rendered. Not only that but the way we are introduced to the characters and the hints on who is and isn’t considered important well I have a feeling those will definitely be changing as the story progresses. The character development is great and while it’s just being laid down we get a fantastic look at these folks and through their behaviour a better understanding of them. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through pages revealing life in this town we are pulled further into the story thanks to the ebb & flow of the book.
The opening here is utterly phenomenal and it really sets the stage for this story. It piques the readers’ curiosity and makes you wonder what is happening here. With the John Keats words playing through what we see I found it to be the most compelling opening I think I have seen, and considering what I’ve been doing the last 10 years that is saying something. Also just the sheer concept of this book and how we see it come to life leaves the reader with a desire to know more, how this came about and even just not knowing keeps the readers’ mind engaged.
The interiors here are mindbogglingly brilliant! The linework is gorgeous, strong or soft and the varying weights and techniques being utilised to bring about the attention to detail just blows my mind. I mean c’mon the opening, the buildings and the characters themselves plus how we see those returning well the imagination and creativity is off the charts. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows an amazingly talented eye for storytelling. Then there is how we see backgrounds being utilised, they not only flesh out the scene beautifully but they also bring us this great sense of depth perception, scale and that overall sense of size and scope to the story. Everything you need to see and feel can be found through this work. The colour is absolutely wonderful to see. Again the different techniques we see being utilised from gradation to blocking we see what we need and where. The utilisation of the various hues and tones found within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is the definition of gorgeous.
Already we see how this book is layered and how the characters are facing their own inner and outer demons regarding Dead Day. So how this is going to play out for them is anyone's guess but what we’ve seen here how we’ve been introduced to it is beyond what we’ve come to expect. This is how you set up a story and a world that captures the readers’ attention, imagination and leaves them with a desire for more.