Dead of Winter #3
Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Kyle Starks
Artist: Gabriel Bautista
Review by Anelise Farris
Dead of Winter #3 drops us immediately into the situation where the previous issue ended. After a bomb scattered the crew, half of the group is being holed up by a not-so-sane police officer. Meanwhile, Carla, Gabe, and Ruckus, have joined ranks with a former member of our community of survivors: a drunk Santa. This issue focuses on this latter half of the crew. Following along with Santa’s direction, the group takes a trip to the mall. Here, they find a liquor store, and—no surprise here—a whole bunch of zombies, drawn by another explosion (thank you crazy cop!). In Dead of Winter #3, the group’s morale is pretty low, and their chance of survival is slim. Fortunately, however, Sparky is determined to protect his humans—no matter what.
First of all, I absolutely love the cover of this issue: Sparky wielding a giant sword in his mouth—red cape flying. Second of all, I adore how self-aware this comic is. In the preface, the creative team admits that anyone who has any knowledge of zombie apocalypses knows not to go into a mall. Also, as they wisely point out, when has a mall Santa ever been someone to trust? Furthermore, Dead of Winter #3 does a fantastic job of showcasing the various emotions that this group is currently feeling. Carla is troubled by this “new normal” in which death is a reality and growing old will probably never happen. Gabe is injured, yet hopeful. And, Ruckus is willing to sacrifice himself to protect his friends. And, of course, we have our resident “good boy” who proves to be the most valuable member of all.
Although the art is cartoonish, Gabo manages to deliver the horror. Through the gray overtones and soft, muted colors, the sense of fear and desperation is palpable. And the art, combined with the well-paced, believable dialogue, lends a sophistication to this dark tale. If nothing else, Dead of Winter #3 leaves you rooting for not just Sparky, but for the whole group—who are being threatened by a surprisingly human enemy.
Buy it! I am thoroughly enjoying how different this zombie apocalypse narrative is, and it’s not just because I am a huge animal lover. There is a great balance of humor and horror, and I look forward to seeing more Sparky versus zombie action!