Dead of Winter is the newest comic series from ONI Press, which at a glance, looks like it tells the story of a super hero dog lost in amongst a zombie apocalypse. However little did I know that it’d open a can of worms I’d rather have kept sealed.
Dead of Winter #1 sets up the story of a group of people struggling for survival in a zombie apocalypse. However, unlike most zombie apocalypse comics, the characters in Dead of Winter are already aware of Zombies from pop culture and other mediums and throughout this first issue point out the ridiculousness of the situation.
Humorously, within the first few panels, one of the survivors comments on how that if zombies are real, then super heroes must be too. In comes Sparky, a TV star with a hate for the undead complete with a bright red cape and a personality which bursts through the page.
Of course, Sparky isn’t really a superhero despite some comments made by our heroic rescuers, he’s just acutely aware that people are good, and zombies are bad, leaving no shuffling husk unscathed.
Did I mention he really hates zombies.
Like with most first issues, Dead of Winter #1 doesn’t reveal too much, however it sets up the story quite well. We’re introduced to our main characters: a hero who doesn’t leave anyone behind, despite the rapidly depleting resources; a tough-guy who’s just going along with the situation; a “leader” who’d rather keep the group small than welcome any other “useless” survivors; and a few other supporting characters that make up the rest of the survivor camp. Of course, there’s also Sparky, who for me, completely stole the show.
Aside from the introductions, little really happens during the first couple of pages. We get to see some pretty creative zombie mutilation, as well as Sparky making the most of a group of undead. We’re also introduced to a familiar story of rapidly depleting resources which force our group to go further out to find un-scavenged locations.
I’ll definitely say that Dead Winter #1 doesn’t stray away from the humour, which is a real nice touch given the seriousness which some zombie apocalypse comics try to push out there. There’s also a few moments which made me chuckle out loud too, which was nice.
Ultimately though, this first issue sets up a much bigger story as our ragtag bunch head out to a nearby police station, and without saying too much, what happens in the last few panels have really made me look forward to the second.
Dead Winter #1 has a pretty nice art style, if not a little same-old, but it works. It’s a little more cartoony than other comics, but it adds to the story’s often out-there humour.
Now, remember that can of worms I mentioned before? It wasn’t until I hit the end of the comic that I realised something, this new Dead of Winter series is actually based of something else, a board game of the same name. Now, after reading this first issue, I want to buy the tabletop game and embark on my own zombie apocalypse survival adventure.
Thanks, ONI Press…