KISS ZOMBIES #5, available from Dynamite on June 10th, is the band’s next adventure roaming the zombie-infected wastelands of North America. Written by Ethan Sacks and drawn by Rodney Buchemi, the issue is played straight for horror but it’s too silly to take seriously. But what it lacks in grounding, the issue makes up for with buckets of charm.
Arthur Suydam’s cover work is excellent. It’s an impression of Gene Simmons’ ‘Demon’ makeup with a bloody maw. Suyden’s rough style is a cross between gritty spray-paint stenciling and Bill Sienkiewicz’s nightmare abstractionist aesthetic. The end result is both filthy and terrifying as a top-tier horror movie poster.
Ethan Sacks’s story is ludicrous and wholly entertaining at the same time. Zombies are attracted to noise, but KISS has discovered that excessively loud rock-and-roll overloads the zombie brain and kills it. They then roam the North American wastelands, moving from colony to colony, saving survivors from the zombie hoards with the power of rock-and-roll.
In this issue, Kiss is captured by an over-protective colony leader bent on stopping them before their music brings the zombies to overrun the town. In true Walking Dead fashion, the humans are just as, or more, dangerous than the zombies. Kiss manages to free themselves and overpower the hysterical leader just in time to put on a zombie-exploding concert that saves the day.
The story is weird, absurd, and nonsensical. And I had a smile on my face the entire time I was reading it.
As absurd as the story is, Rodney Buchemi’s art is actually very solid. The issue works because of the contrast between the grim reality of the setup and the surrealism of the heroes. It wouldn’t work if the depiction of Kiss in full costume was overblown or made to look like they didn’t belong in the setting. Buchemi renders the heroes like a superhero team that fits right in with their surroundings and the civilian characters.
Favorite Page/Panel: There’s a flashback panel on page 6 where the leader describes how he lost his wife and son to the zombies. In any other book, this would be a heart-wrenching panel…except for the fact that the son’s tear-streaked face is wearing Kiss makeup. A true fan. This panel exemplifies every reason why this book – that should be awful in concept – succeeds in execution.
Dijjo Lima’s coloring is moody and effective. Most of the issue takes place at night and the scenes play out by firelight. Lima’s use of color applies the right mix of yellow and orange to bring “roughing it” authenticity to the environment.
Troy Peteri makes use of every millimeter of empty space in this issue. There’s a surprising amount of action going on, and neither the word balloons nor action boxes get in the way. It looks like the font is slightly smaller than typical to fit within the empty spaces more effectively (or my eyesight could be getting worse with age). If not, Peteri’s use of empty space is almost Houdini-like.
KISS ZOMBIES #5, available from Dynamite on June 10th, pulls off the impossible by being completely entertaining despite its premise. The story is played straight in perfect contrast to the concept, and the art is solid all the way round. A pleasant surprise.
Author’s Note: Local Comic Shops (LCS) are going through a tough time right now with the pandemic outbreak of COVID-19. Comics fans of every flavor that care about his or her LCS should try to do what they can. So, here’s my part:
If you’re in Northern Delaware, South East Pennsylvania, or Southern New Jersey area, please take a moment to visit Captain Blue Hen Comics in Newark, DE. Say ‘hi,’ pick up a book, order a book (they’re on Comichub.com), and let them know you support them.
If you’re nowhere near that area, please find YOUR LCS using Comic Shop Locator and lend your support.
Thanks, and stay safe.