Edge of Extinction (Review)

Review by Jonathan Camilleri

Created and written by Baden James Mellonie
Created, illustrated and lettered by Paul Peart-Smith
Cover and book design by Stephen Sampson
Published by Eighth Continent

The reader is greeted by splendid cover art by Paul Peart-Smith, an amazing portrait-type depiction of morbid decay, enough to make it creepy, but not enough to stop the reader (myself at least) from wondering how beautiful she must have been before becoming infected. The colors used, variants of the colors red, orange and yellow are colors not usually associated with Zombies, and they were quite a breath of fresh air. The variant covers, beautiful on their own right, each designed by David Millgate, Ryan Brown and Blank respectively, bring something extra to an already great comic book, but I would stick to the original artwork.

Welcome to Bedford, England, not a common place for a zombie outbreak, but it’s a fresh change of pace. Without giving too much away, the story essentially begins when the protagonist hears a knocking on the door, opening it only to find his postman bleeding to death.

I must admit myself a tad irritated at the protagonist’s shouting “Hold on mate, hold on…” repeatedly for three panels. I know there’s not much to say when someone’s bleeding to death in your landing, but it seemed to be a British accent overcompensation of sorts.

The artwork is brilliant and really vivid. I love a black and white comic. Why? A black and white comic allows you to perceive the dichotomy of good vs evil, darkness and light, foreground vs background, the obvious vs the subtle. This work does exactly that. The inking is striking and purposefully shabby in certain places. It seemed to me that the inking was done according to focus needed. The facial expressions were also something which struck me. Pseudo-grotesque and depressing in many ways, at times they jolted me into a mental image of what they might look like should they be infected. Whether this was the author’s choice, or whether the facial mild deformity was a design choice, it did the trick nonetheless.

The story progresses smoothly and truly was a pleasure to read. Although we are left with an obvious cliffhanger, it does the trick, proving once-again that a classic remains a classic, used once or a thousand times.

The author’s post-comic description of future happenings was very informative and served to further entice me into reading any following issues of this solid work. It’s a pity there were some orthographic errors in the text; had it gone that extra inch…

On the whole this work is a truly well balanced and masterfully designed comic, having a solid story-line and an interesting setting, and promising a powerful set of sequels, I wonder what the creators can come up with next. It seems truly promising, please don’t let us down.

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