Writer: Mike Garley
Art: Josh Sherwell
Letters; Mike Stock
“Humanity has reached its Kill Screen. Now only the strongest will survive as computer errors transcend from the digital world in to our own, destroying everything in their way.
Set two years after the ‘Kill Screen’ event, humanity lies on the brink of extinction leaving the remaining survivors caught in a deadly 8 bit fight for survival.”
The Kill Screen: Cascade is the second in the series (Read my reveal of Kill Screen: I Love You here). After an opening prologue, the story jumps ahead two years, away from the dangers of urban warfare to a more The Walking Dead countryside environment and traces the story of two small groups of survivors struggling to survive ‘The Followers’ – a cult intent on recruiting them or killing them.
The two groups of humans meet and decide to escape on to a boat together, a story that delivers a creepy as hell mash up of all the best Zombie movies with computer game visual prompts (similar to those used for more comedic purposes in Scott Pilgrim vs the World).
What makes it better than the average small press horror book are its moment of personal interplay. Mike and Josh use human moments to make us care about the characters.
It’s also got big chunks of humour. When one of the Followers shouted “So be it…. for cats!” before they attacked you quickly realize that not everything here is to be taken seriously. But it’s done with a black humour that almost makes these moments more threatening. There’s also some funny message board type comments in the text piece at the back of the book that had me chuckling.
The game elements are haphazard and the reader is left to try and work out the rules. Our logical brains are as confused as the players in the book as to how this world works. This plot point is taken to a new level from the more straight up digital zombies aspect of the first chapter, I Love You. Issue Two is as much The Survivors TV series as it is the Dawn of the Dead movie. Interesting stuff.
In my opinion,, the art has taken a real leap in quality since Issue One. The opening prologue looks incredible and has some really impressive details to settings and action. The fight sequence towards the end of the book is done with real power of movement and at an impressive clip. The characters also seem more readily identifiable and unique. I was never at a loss as to who was who at any point. The colour palette is clearly intentionally lighter than issue one and this really added to each panel’s clarity for me. The cover seemed less iconic for this issue and could have done with more detail in my opinion, but that’s just a small personal niggle.
This is a book with real legs. I’m hoping that we see a continuation of this storyline and don’t get another time jump to Issue Three. As I understand it, this will be available at Thoughtbubble in November and available digitally and from the website.
• There’s more background on The Kill Screen here on Mike Garley’s official web site
Many thanks for reading.