"Oh dear, your jaw is falling off" - Alice
With another year coming to an end, and the Mayan calendar apparently running out yet again, thoughts turn to the end of times and in particularly how the human race might meet its demise. So how was your New Year celebrations? Darren Koziol, once again proving he has his finger on the pulse of Downunder dark musing, hits out with a whole edition of Decay dedicated to the end of times. Don't know about you but I'm always up for tales of rogue meteorites, zombie outbreaks, or any of the other forms of devastation being unleashed in biblical torrents, as long as said tales are of course fiction of course.
Through the course of fifty odd pages Decay #14 explores the apocalyptic genre from various angles, utilising some of the best comic Writers and Artists currently working in Australia. This is one serious book and continues the evolution of Decay into the finest publication of its type Downunder. Let's see what's pushing the buttons of mass destruction.
DK hits out with the sort of rebel rousing editorial that he's making a name with, and sets the pace for the Issue. Decay sniffs at various Mayan calendars and unleashes hell from the first page to the last. Actually the Christian Armageddon looks to be getting a good run with the demonic host featuring heavily in some of the excellent art work. Having established the flavour of the month, and not stinting on the as usual excellent selection of hosts it's on with a virtual smorgasbord of stories featuring the end of days. Is it just me or is the artwork getting denser with each issue?
Kicking off our tales of mayhem Falling Skies, script Darren Koziol art Jake Rundle, is the sort of Sci-Fi/Horror hybrid that seems to be making our screens recently in various Yank series of alien invasion. Koziol takes a slightly different tack here, and envisages the use of the universe's most lethal virus in the destruction of an alien race. Nice touch of having what looked like 767s delivering the payload, I was also digging the hit and miss delivery approach. Did I mention that the story is in colour? As the story should demonstrate, this Issue isn't all straight forward, exactly what you might expect, though the next story, On the Beach, drops us kicking and screaming into a Nevil Shute nightmare most Aussies should at least be aware of. One of those short and sharp efforts DK has been delivering under the banner of "Tales 2 Tremble by".
Darren Koziol teams up with Paul Briske to deliver everyone's worse nightmare, beyond another Twilight book of course, the Sun running out of nuclear reaction power! Naturally plans are afoot to re-ignite things before the vamps shed their sparkling imagine, but as we all know that generally doesn't work out well in dark genre outings. Interestingly Paul Briske's artwork is pretty primitive, almost as if it had been drawn by candle light in the deep dark, read the story to get the groove there kids. The best story of the collection, for mine, draw (tehehehe) your own conclusions, see's the legendary Jason Paulos adding a retro feel to DK's script in the fairy tale meets the blade tale Alice's Adventures in Zombieland. Not a lot of zombies to be honest, but what the heck I was digging the surreal nature of this one. Welcome to Alice's 19th nervous breakdown, and you'll never guess what I got from Santa.
Mick Anderson is heavy on the outline pen as he knocks together Darren Koziol's vision of the post apocalyptic wasteland, heavy social message here kids, if you want to jump on it, or just rock out to the grotesque natural of it all. Hey Grand Guignol isn't dead folks, it's hiding out in the Adelaide foothills, or maybe in a barrel in a bank vault somewhere. Okay this one is likely to cause some controversy amongst the wine and cheese set, frack 'em don't they have an art exhibition made up of poo sculptures to check out somewhere, as that's more socially redeeming right? Hey just when you think DK is short changing us, we get Zombie Apocalypse, what's an end of times issue without a zombie apocalypse, was I digging this one? - hell is Romero the Godfather of the shambling undead!
Okay Alister Lockhart's story Last Humans might be skating close to the edge of plagiarism, (see Pandorum), but in it's defence I would reiterate a point Stephen King has made, paraphrasing here, there are only so many dark genre plots, with the genre recycling on a fairly consistent basis. If you want to poke the hoary finger of plagiarism at anything, then look no further than Avatar, Jimmy Cameron's space saga that bears more than a passing resemblance to the innocuous Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. Whatever, in Lockhart's story we get awesome monsters and a secret that will plague the human survivors of an apocalypse. Worth buying Decay #14 for this outing in the macabre alone kids.
We're back into full colour for the final couple of stories folks, yes we're talking a bumper crop of creepy creations in this issue. J.P Fitch reminds that when it comes to the apocalyptic tale then you really do need some Cthulu inspired madness to top the mountain off. Randy Silverman hits out with the pens as the dangers of home birth are exposed once and for all, though I don't think a full hospital emergency ward would have been much help here either to be honest. One of those stories were some readers might be hitting a gag reaction as things go down to the blood soaked end of town. Rounding out DK delivers his take on H.G. Well's Martian invasion in Triumph of the Red Weed, Charith Wijewardane throwing on some inspired artwork for this tale of alien incursion. While DK sticks to the Wells' vision of the destruction of mankind being staved off by bacteria, he also includes a reference to events in The Trigan Empire comic series apparently. Don't ask me I just work here, anyways I was digging the steam punk nature of things folks. Fingers crossed this is an ongoing series, has some awesome promise would be my 10 cents worth.
[Editor's Note: The Trigan Empire was a Brit comic series that involved a red weed in an invasion plotline.]
Decay #14 continues the good work of the previous editions and rounds out the year with Dark Oz Publications in a good place. Not only do you get the stories detailed above, but also lots of full page artwork, a photo piece on the 2012 Adelaide Zombie Walk, and a whole lot more. I'm actually very cool with "special" editions of the magazine and this one rocks the house down. As ever full recommendation, if wanting to get your dark genre comic on then lock and load on this book. Besides being available at all good comic emporiums, if not demand they stock it, you can score a copy online over at Dark Oz for the remarkably low price of a tenner (AUD of course). Please note P&H is additional, but not a deal breaker, and yes Dark Oz do ship internationally. Now go get your read on, and for sure check out the back catalogue, and no we don't sell copies of our mint collection, we're collectors over here.