AWA Upshot Studios 2020
Written by Benjamin Percy
Illustrated by Juan Jose Ryp
Coloured by Frank Martin Jr.
Lettered by Andworld Design
Upshot's hit series Year Zero returns with four new harrowing tales of survival from around a post apocalyptic world, set several months after the events on Volume One: A grizzled Norwegian sea captain and her two young grandchildren navigate an ocean teeming with undead while eluding the relentless pirates on their trail. A Colombian cartel boss indulges all of his most sadistic whims unaware that a threat far greater than zombies is headed toward his jungle fortress. A Rwandan doctor must overcome the crippling fear that has plagued him all his life as he stumbles through the African bush. And a pregnant woman barricaded in an American big box store discovers that the greatest threat to her life – and her unborn child's – might not be undead.
I never would have thought that I would get into short stories about zombies and yet here we are with one of the most fascinating comics in the world. Four different and distinct stories are being told and each one of them concludes with this issue. It has everything we love in a zombie story too, death, destruction, mayhem and that old whole does any survive? Benjamin, Juan Jose and Frank deliver one of the most well written, visually breathtaking horror comics that you’ll have the pleasure to read.
I adore the way that this is being told. While they are four separate arcs that doesn't mean that each one is told before moving onto the next. Not every few pages things switch up and the entire issue reads like any other one would, well one with multiple layers in the story by someone who knew what they were doing. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development is lovely and as we see through how the characters act and react to the situations and circumstances they encounter alongside the dialogue manages to make these characters we want to root for. The pacing that we see here is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the way each ends well I refuse to spoil anything there. I like how we this being structured and how everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well.
Juan Jose Ryp is one of if not my favourite artists working today. What the man can do with a pencil in creating the linework and through it’s varying weights and techniques to create this level and quality of detail in his work is mindbogglingly brilliant. Add into this that the backgrounds that we see are just as detailed and little moments like with animals or the dead create this sense of movement. How the composition within the panels is utilised to bing us depth perception, a sense of scale and that overall sense of size and scope to the story is utterly marvellous. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masters eye for storytelling. The colour work is divine. How we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work showcases such an understanding for how colour works.
The creativity and imagination that we see on display here whether its the writing or the visuals leaves such an impact upon the reader. With intelligent, interesting and never knowing what’s around the bend this really has heightened the sense of danger with every turn of the page. This is a brilliant book and that it’s told unlike any other in the genre makes it groundbreaking and a must have read.