The zombie genre has grown not only in movies and TV, but also rapidly in comic books. It's a horror genre that readers flock to for gory chills and thrilling tales of survival against the living dead. In Rebel Blood we see a more widespread type of infection that not only can affect humans, but animals. In fact, for the most part we see mutated wolves more than anything else. Which, if you ask me, is plenty terrifying.
The story and setup is what really sucked me into this issue, which was written by both Link and Rossmo. Chuck, the main character, has been assigned to one of the forest fire stations in a tower miles away from civilization after an incident at work. When the outbreak hits, all he can think about is how he's going to find his family when he fights his way back into town. But the deeper he goes into the woods, the more obstacles he finds in his way. Not only in the form of horrible mutations, but also in the form of his tormented psyche. This plays really well on the page, because he is constantly shifting between “what if” scenarios and what's actually happening in real time. There's a wonderful moment where his mind wanders after one of the scenarios and he's turned his torment into a hit song. Which I didn't see coming from a mile away.
The artwork by Rossmo is scratchy, raw, and really effective for this story. The whole thing kind of had the vibe of John Carpenter's The Thing. Where you would expect tendrils and biological explosions of monstrosity to fill the screen, or in this case, the page. The character designs are authentic and lifelike, and I think the high panel counts were handled very well on each page.
The only criticism I really have is that it just sort of ended. It seemed as if a page was missing at the end. I admit that it kept my attention and made me want to read the next issue. But it just stopped so abruptly that it left me a little uneasy in terms of a reading experience. I can see how it's being used as a cliffhanger for the next issue, but it left out another beat that was necessary to cap off the issue.
However, that was only one small hiccup in a really fun issue. I have a hard time swallowing zombie comics since they're becoming just as common as superhero books. But just like superhero stories there's always an original way to tackle a subject. If you're looking for a non-traditional take on the living dead, or mutated monsters, then this is the book for you. You can bet I'm going to read the next three issues in this miniseries.