Meanwhile, back on the ranch . . . When we last left off, a farmer and his family were having a smidge of a rodent problem. City folk react quite drastically when one makes an appearance in the home, but country folk know it’s part and parcel of living in God’s country. It’s always an annoyance when the shine of their blood red eyes hastens your heartbeat for a moment or two. It’s when they won’t stay dead that it becomes more of a nuisance.
The Final Plague #2 picks up right where #1 left off. Unlike many graphic novels or television programs, it forgoes the “previously on . . . ” rhetoric. I appreciate the immediacy of this style of storytelling. It basically says, “You want to know what happened previously? Buy the earlier issues. This ain’t no ‘one shot’ or sitcom. You can’t just hit it and quit it.”
This issue starts with the resolution of an infestation at the home of a family near rural Lehigh, Iowa. Starting with a single incident of one death-resistant rat in the first issue, the situation snowballs to the point of calling in back up. I can get behind helping a buddy out, but a free home-cooked supper doesn’t win out over the chance of being gnawed to death by rats . . . not that the do gooder knew that was a possibility. Ending with casualties minor to major, our farm friends have a few lingering issues to contemplate before we leave them for the time being. Their own injuries and the outcome of the infestation on the family cat.
Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria. Not actually ‘living’ or ‘together’ (at least not yet), through the continuous calls of a disturbed woman and the police who have to constantly check out the incidents, we are given the knowledge that the issue affecting the animals, whatever it may be, is not exclusive to the rodent population. As often as they are, dogs are not always man’s best friend.
Back in the New Jersey lab featured in Issue #1, things are cooking hot and steady. Testing has begun on the Fievel fiends, and lab technicians having learned the hard way to don hazmat suits and be a tad more diligent. Those in control oversee the work being performed, as government officials keep an eye on them. When Uncle Sam wants to call the shots, that’s the way it goes, usually served with a side of superiority and undermining. Dinner is ready. Soon, we are teased with what interaction with the infected means for humans, but it’s only a taste to whet your appetite. Like any good dealer, the first taste is free. Gotta keep them coming back for more.
I really enjoy the way the story is progressing thus far, hinting at possibilities and no definitive answers as of yet. Are these animals mutated somehow, experiencing the symptoms of a new strain of rabies? Is it spreading like a virus or working its magic on animals all at once? If zombies, were they previously dead and returned from the grave or bitten then turned to beasts craving flesh? Where did it start? What can be done? Where will it go from here?
I had a chance to speak with writer JD Arnold, so stay tuned for his interview on the Fanboy Comics website next week, as he may be willing to give us an insight on where the story of The Final Plague came from and where it’s going.