COMIC REVIEW: The War of the Undead: The little comic that could’ve but didn’t

War of the Undead cover of the TPB

The War of the Undead

Writer(s): Bryan Johnson
Artist(s): Walter Flanagan
Paperback, FC, 72 pages
Published by IDW (http://www.idwpublishing.com/)
Date Published:

Plot: 

In East Germany, as the world is ending and Hitler committed suicide, a cabal of nazi conspirators put in motion a plan to resurrect the Fuhrer into a new vessel, but for that they need… the wolfman, Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula???
What? No Abbot and Costello?

THE REVIEW:

Let it be said first, that I respect IDW immensely.  I like some of the risks they are taking, and like some of the choices they are making. Guess they  all can’t be home-runs, can they?
I admit I haven’t researched the sales figures on this book, and I concede that there may be an audience out there that may think it is brilliant!
The reason why I read it from front to back groaning, and when I finished I was glad I picked it up on a sale at 1/3 the sticker price is because the book has mediocrity written all over its pages.
Bryan Johnson has a wonderful command of dialogue, and he does come up with a few interesting plot twists (SPOILER ALERT   ……    The landing of the plane, the mummy as a chauffeur, the final dialogue between Dracula and the Wolfman…)
But then having to sit through all the explanation and exposition, when it has all been done before and with more appeal by Mignola in his BDPR series… SIGH….
Who are the audiences that this comic is intended for? Late Teens/Young Adults? The people who haven’t followed nor heard of Nazi conspiracies and their research in the occult?  I know, I know, not everyone has bothered learning about WWII’s Nazi secret research project’s nor about Hitler’s expedition to the Artic, nor his search for the spear of Longinos, etc etc….
But even so, if we get past the thematic and stick to the well developed dialogs(because Bryan Johnson is very well versed in portraying distinct dialogs, and giving each character their own unique voice), then we have to contend with the contradiction that is of Walter Flanagan. He is a too stiff on his depictions of the human body, and I find him too inexperienced when plotting panels. NOTICE I haven’t said that he did a bad job illustrating this book.  FAR FROM IT. It is that he also contributes many mediocre moments, splash pages that should’ve leapt at you, they barely growl, and panels that should’ve shocked us, merely entertain.
So that’s what happens when you get together two artists that have too many mediocre moments between them. A mediocre book.
The one person who does contribute a panache of unspoiled art, is the colorist, Phil Sloan, who also happens to be the one who did the cover painting. He maintains a consistent rhythm of tones throughout the book. Ah the colorist! Those unsung heroes….
Once more, IDW did a good job on the printing and presentation of this work and I think they will get a lot of “bulkbuyers” buying into it, those guys who are in the comic store searching for something different, will be attracted by the cover, will read the backcover and say “Hey, I’ll give it a try! Doesn’t look half bad”
And I do respect a lot of the other works that IDW is publishing such as JJAbrahms adaptations of Angel, the series of Chicanos, and the new life they are breathing into GIJoe.
And if its zombies that you are looking for, don’t miss out on DEADWORLD CLASSICalso published by IDW.
That is more likely to rock your boat.
So, on my Critics rating, The War of the Undead gets

4 ½ STARS

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