Campbell (Wet Moon) adds color-in this case red-to the OEL manga format, the better to highlight zombie gore. Actually, the red keeps the reader's eye on Rylie, a red-headed black lesbian in a swampy Southern town. She's trying to start a relationship with her crush, Naomi, while the world ends around them. Campbell beautifully captures the decaying grandeur of the South, with the palpable weight of its languid air. Wearing little clothing isn't sexual; it's survival in the heat. His characters are solidly fleshy, realistic and with presence. There's a thin line between sex and death, and the characters deal with both in nonsentimental, practical ways as they talk about life and what they want to become and finding someone to love. The questions any teen faces, like whether or not to leave town when you're older or whether your friends will still be your friends as you grow up, become more powerful through the zombie symbolism. When a loved one turns 23, he becomes one of the monsters, and here the adults literally eat their young. This unique blend of zombie horror, relationship drama and Southern gothic says much about love and survival. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Rylie is a punked-out girl with a bright red Mohawk and a heart of gold. Besides working at her friend's ice cream shop, she also volunteers at the local nursing home. She has a huge crush on the new girl, Naomi, and they made their first date; her summer is looking promising. But, Rylie's world comes crashing down around her when another Riley--this one a massive hurricane--rips through her town during one of her volunteer shifts. In the aftermath, all adult inhabitants of her town (and beyond) have been turned to flesh-eating zombies who want to eat teenagers. Now Rylie and her friends must learn to survive in this harsh new world. Unlike most of the original English language manga available in today's market, Campbell's volume is published in color. This feature accentuates the extreme, and often excessive, goriness and bloodiness of this volume. There are explicit scenes of zombies attacking people and consuming them; this volume is decidedly violent and would fit best in library collections that keep gory slasher movies in with their teen collection. The story, while intriguing, leaves large holes in its plot that should serve as cliffhangers, but are more confusing than interesting. Libraries looking for horror and/or zombie graphic novels for older teens might try instead (or as well) the first volume of Robert Kirkman's zombie thriller, The Walking Dead (Image Comics, 2004). KLIATT Codes: S--Recommended for senior high school students. 2006, Tokyopop, 240p. illus., $9.99.. Ages 15 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-An amazingly constructed horror story that operates on several levels of despair and grotesquery, this book is an effectively disturbing and affecting read. During a hurricane and a power outage, all individuals beyond their early 20s die and are reanimated as zombies. Readers follow the slow deterioration of a band of outcasts and counterculture youth who try to survive. The characters are not bright or beautiful, and the fact that they could inherit the Earth is as terrifying as their inevitable deaths. Campbell hits all the right notes with the zombie action, and the scenes of dismemberment and the undeath of loved ones are vivid and terrifying. The artwork is rendered in black and white and red, and the atmosphere intensified by the red wash gives mud, blood, and flesh a dimension that lends additional substance to the earthy, palpable physiques of the characters. Grim, grotesque, and gory, this book will appeal only to a limited and stouthearted audience as most readers won't be able to see beyond the visceral depictions to appreciate the craft of their rendering. But both in terms of artwork and a fine twinning of existential and tangible horrors, this is an exceedingly well-made volume.-Benjamin Russell, The Derryfield School, Manchester, NH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.