Written by Mike Garley
Art by Joshua Sherwell
Letters by Mike Stock
“Humanity has reached its Kill Screen. Now only the strongest will survive as computer errors transcend from the digital world into our own, destroying everything in their way.
“Set two years after ‘The Kill Screen’ event, humanity is left on the brink of extinction leaving the remaining survivors caught in a deadly 8-Bit fight for survival.
“No one knows what caused computer errors and technological faults to infect our world, but with a wide range of different dangers, threatening the lives of the survivors on a daily basis, no one cares. Surviving is all that matters…”
The Story: The above is the entry point for the group of survivors in this post apocalyptic world. Huddled together, they find out that one of their group, although captured, is still alive and decide to go rescue him. The results are full of blood (in both pixels and real) and marks the gory widescreen end to the first arc in the Kill Screen story…
The Review: This issue again marks another leap in quality and an (almost? maybe?) triumphant turn of events in the lives of the survivors in this series. Mike Garley handles the story and dialogue with real class. Not only do you get huge doses of action, horror and gore but you also get a biting injection of dark humour. It’s little touches of sparky pacing and moments of smirks beneath the relentless death that lift this book above many of its contemporaries for me.
Much of this humour comes from the integration of the real lives of the characters and the crossover moments with the themes of computer games and the internet that makes a cobweb connection in all our lives. I won’t spoil the whole thing but there are icons from a number of games and operating systems that are cleverly implanted to give the world a strangely familiar, yet troubling twist.
“So… do you wish to continue?”
The language of gaming literally infects the world of a horror comic and in doing so reminds the reader of how our lives today are reflections of our phones and tablets – always there, glowing and knowing into our eyeballs. In this story, technology not humanity is the natural victor, humanity is a virus that is old and decaying and will be stamped out eventually.
On the art side, Sherwell has lifted his game once more with this issue and I am really feeling the flow of the action from page to page. It’s a longish read and the art and dialogue keep perfect pace with each other and the story that unfolds. It has equal amounts of frenetic action and individual character on each page and through each scene.
Issue 4 seemingly (?) marks the end of the first arc but I don’t doubt that there will be more soon.
As solid a horror series as you will see out there in the small press and beyond. Pick this up. It is getting a release at the Leamington Spa Comic Convention on the 17th October or is available through the website at http://mikegarley.com/store/
Many thanks for reading.