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Posted August 14, 2012
This is a review for the graphic novel "Slaughterhouse" that takes place inside "Safe Haven" compound. Apparently this set of 4 issues, is a self-contained story arc within a larger series. Although it is not clearly labelled as such, this is probably the second or third book.
Chronology aside, this volume is a very visceral experience. It is not for the faint of heart or children. Here is what to expect from this volume:
1. Unethical and sadistic medical experiments carried out on living/dead humans without their consent by questionable scientists. A sense of realism surrounds this aspect of the plot. (e.g. Dr. Mengele during WWII.)
2. Grotesque drawings of smart & mindless zombies.
3. Some teens that made it to "Safe Haven" as a group, were segregated upon their arrival. (e.g. WWII Nazi concentration camp segregation protocol.)
4. The knowledge that zombies are not the worst creatures to confront a survivor at world's end.
The storyline was well thought out, and fairly easy to follow. The author has supplemented the illustrations with several one-page type written character vignettes that are "engrossing" (in every sense of the word).
Fortunately, for those of us who started with this volume, there is a "here-is-what-has-happened-so-far" section at the very beginning. It tells you what you need to know concisely.
The dialogue font was usually legible on my Nook Tablet. Each page fit neatly on the screen, unless I turned it sideways.
Herein lies the biggest issue that I have with this graphic novel. Every drawing is dark in color and shading. This artist's style deals exclusively in grayscale pencil with dark backgrounds which is frquently difficult to decipher. The illustrations are done in black, gray, and white. This book would have gotten 5 stars, if only it had some color.
Full color does not always make every comic better. Grayscale can be used to great effect, but only when done well. Color would have made the backgrounds and the characters' expressions more visually clear.
I will read one more volume in this series. It has earned one more chance, since the author mentions "up front" that he used a different artist to pen this book. I enjoyed the plot, and the unusually intelligent zombies. It kept my attention throughout. But, emotionally, it was difficult and disturbing. Do not read this novel if you have a weak stomach for extreme violence.
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