We picked up the new 28 Days Later comic last week, and it's... pretty much fail by our standards. Those looking for something bearing any tonal similarity to the 2002 film will be sorely disappointed. Rather than being bleak, smart, breathless, realist and emotional like the movie, the comic is dumbed-down and features a very shopworn setup.
In this imagining, the UK mainland is still teeming with infected but has been successfully quarantined. The story begins elsewhere on the continent at a safe encampment.
Serena, the street-smart, tough-as-nails, machete-wielding survivor from the film is here depicted as a stony loner who was separated from the other two survivors, her de facto family, under yet-unexplained circumstances.
For some reason--it was silly enough that it's already forgotten to me--a crew of Americans (combat journalists, I think?) wants to get back into the quarantine zone, and they ask Serena to be their guide, since she has firsthand experience with the infected. She refuses flat, then has a flashback and agrees at the last second. Like ya do. (I don't recall the content; maybe she flashed back to watching Aliens?)
These intelligent and battle-hardened journalists have never crossed paths with the infected before. Nor have they, apparently, ever seen a photo of one or read up on any accounts of identifying symptoms and behaviors before going on an armed trek by foot into infected territory. Within a couple of pages of landing on some island, a supposedly secured connection zone, one of these morons mistakes two infected for healthy people and, in trying to initiate conversation, gets close enough to be assaulted by them. Serena saves the day, natch, and determines that the infection has spread to where it's not supposed to be. (Duh-duh-DUUH!)
The art is a mixed bag, as photo-based sequential art tends to be. Some artists are great at action and layouts but not faces--Hitch comes to mind, of course, except he's not really great at anything except getting shit out quickly, which is apparently enough of a qualification for most comics publishers. The trouble for me is that faces and expressions and unique, consistent features are probably the criterion that matters most to me in sequential art, so it's hard for me to applaud this work for that reason alone. I guess... the color is nice? I don't know, overall it's just not a style I dig, though I suppose it works for this kind of story better than fully stylized anatomy and scene-setting.
As we mentioned before, you can check out the first few pages of the comic at newsarama.
We're going to stick with this for two or three issues just to see if Kirkman has any competition. I've described my problems with his work ad nauseum but, writing-wise, the 28 Days Later comic makes The Walking Dead look like Steinbeck.