Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Star Spangled War Stories: G.I. Zombie #1 Review

Written by: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by: Scott Hampton
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: July 23, 2014

Can You Give Me a Hand?

I have to admit, when I first read that Star Spangled War Stories was coming out I wondered what the DC higher ups were smoking. While war comics have a rich tradition, they haven't fared well in the New 52, to say the least.  My frown turned upside down when I heard who was writing it, however.  Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are two of my favorite writers and with All Star Western Canceled (boo!) as well as Batwing (double boo!), I was worried I wouldn't get my monthly Palmitotti-Gray fix.  I am no longer worried.

In my mind, Star Spangled seemed like it would be similar to G.I. Combat's Unknown Soldier backups which I loved.  Guns, tanks and explosions in the Middle East with a Zombie Soldier leading the way.  Sounds cool, right?  Maybe, but that isn't this book.  In fact, it's not even close. At least from this first issue, Star Spangled is a crime drama and G.I. Zombie is a Jack Web-like Federal Agent who happens to be undead.  It's not what I expected, but that just may be a good thing.

Palmiotti and Gray don't follow the #1 issue instruction manual.  Instead of spelling out the main characters, they focus on the story instead.  To be honest, I love this method.  The reader learns about the characters organically and there are plenty of surprises along the way.  This issue has a few huge surprises, believe me.

I really don't want to spoil anything, but the series revolves around G.I. Zombie (Jared to his friends) and his partner, Carmen King. They are polar opposites and it makes for a very interesting dynamic.  I am really looking forward to learning more about both of them.

For now, They are involved in an undercover case involving stolen weapons and a pretty seedy biker gang.  Just wait until you see how they gain their trust.  I've never seen anything like it.  The best parts, however, are when the two are interacting with each other and when Jared is just being Jared.  Remember, the guy is a Zombie.  Overall, I am intrigued by where this book is going.  Instead of being a "War book", it feels fresh, dangerous and dark.  I'm already hooked.

Scott Hampton's art took a little getting used to at first, but once I settled in I liked it.  It fits the book in a grim and stylish way and really helps set the mood of the story and the characters.

Bits and Pieces:

Star Spangled War Stories: G.I. Zombie #1 was a pleasant surprise.  Instead of flag waving and guns ablazing, Palmiotti and Gray give the reader a dark crime drama with two characters I really want to get to know better.  Scott Hampton's art really helps with the mood of the book.  This book looks to be very different from any other book in the New 52 and hopefully a destination for readers looking for a mature, character driven drama.


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