'Rebel Blood Volume 1:' Advance Trade Paperback Review


Rebel Blood V1The most important thing to remember when beginning to read Rebel Blood is that it is unequivocally not a zombie story.  You might flip through the book, seeing Riley Rossmo’s art, and be put off, believing this to simply be zombies in the woods.  But, if you did that, you’d be wrong, and you would miss out on one of the better horror novels out right now.

Speaking of Rossmo’s art, the sketchy, fluidic style lends itself well to the book, while simultaneously making the chronology of the story a bit disjointed; I suspect it would be easy to keep pace for many avid readers, but someone new to comics may have a little trouble with the continuity.  Still, as a fan of Rossmo’s unmistakable style, I found the grotesque nature in each panel highly evocative and enjoyable.

There are five pages with no dialogue to start this book out, but instead of becoming boring or stilted, this is instead a perfect way of building tension within the book.  Introduced to former firefighter Chuck Neville, we meet him just following his accident, which has resulted in his being assigned to a fire tower in the forest.  The loneliness, the isolation, and the thought of having failed set Chuck up with a severe case of “over-imagination.”  Pay close attention to the coloring of the panels, as we’re often treated to the green shaded play outs of Chuck’s imaginary futures (which as I said, shouldn’t be hard to follow for usual readers, but who doesn’t want to give their non-comic friends a good horror volume).

Without spoiling the ending for those who haven’t read it, there are only a few things I’d truly like to say about Rebel Blood.  There is a type of story in comics which is generally best as a trade, instead of single-issue floppies.  I can’t imagine the irritation of waiting weeks for the next issue to come out after picking up the first.  Honestly, while enjoyable, the first two issues truly are a journey, and outside of a compilation volume, I’m not sure I would have stuck with it.  Luckily, the final chapter leaves the reader with that amazing sense of transformation.  That feeling and sense you may occasionally have after reading the last word of a story, putting it down, and realizing your preconceptions were wrong, and that that’s OK.  Finishing a book like Rebel Blood makes you imagine to yourself (like Chuck, in green shaded panels) about seeing Riley Rossmo and Alex Link across a room, smiling a half smile, and winking at them.  With almost no movement whatsoever, they wink back at you, and you all just know.

Horror is tough to write, tricky to draw, and nearly impossible to surprise others with, but we have the genuine article in Rebel Blood.  It’s one of those books that even after reading several times, you know you’re going to be picking up and reading again.  If you’re going camping soon, you might want to leave this one behind, though.





Last modified on Friday, 21 June 2013 01:34

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