Robot 6

The Middle Ground #37: And Then, There’s That Zombie Invasion

There are all manner of reasons why IDW’s Infestation shouldn’t work for me. For one thing, it’s all about zombies, and I really don’t like zombies with the obvious exceptions. For another, it’s a crossover. So why am I eagerly anticipating the whole thing, having read the first issue?

Well, there’s always the fact that Infestation #1 – out on the 26th – is just a really fun comic. I’ve not really kept up with the Zombies Vs. Robots universe that this first issue is based in, but it really doesn’t matter; writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, seemingly continuing their plan for comic company domination, provide all the information you could need to know quickly and easily enough, helped by the fact that… well, comics like this are much more about the spectacle and speed than, y’know, plot.

Good thing that David Messina is illustrating, then; Messina’s been doing increasingly wonderful work over at IDW for years, now – You might’ve seen his work in True Blood or Star Trek: Countdown – and this is another example of his gorgeous, clean style put to work in the best way possible (Although some may see his porn roots showing through in the ample cleavage of Britt, when she first appears). Honestly, it’s worth the $3.99 for his work alone.

(That Messina hasn’t been snatched up by DC or Marvel yet either speaks to loyalty on his part or oversight on theirs; he’s an artist who would easily fit in with a superhero audience, I think, and he’s got great storytelling chops. I’m not complaining that he’s still with IDW, because I feel as if they’re continually using him well, moving him from high profile gig to high profile gig, but it doesn’t stop me being surprised that he’s not been stolen away by the Big Two yet.)

But as good as the launch is, it’s not the only thing selling me on the mini-series that follow (especially because they’re all by different creative teams); no, for that, there’s the novelty and guts of crossing over such different properties as Transformers, Ghostbusters, Star Trek and GI Joe. Sure, they’re all successful movie/toy/television franchises, but they’re not stories that necessarily go together, and definitely not stories that you’d think would easily accept a zombie invasion or two. The way that Infestation is structured may be such that the various multimedia franchises won’t necessarily be running into each other – Sadly, if, like me, you really would’ve loved to have seen Peter Venkman mouth off to Mr. Spock (You just know that Bones would’ve loved Venkman, don’t you?) – but it’s nonetheless smartly linked each series together through plot, and looks set to play up the incongruity of zombies invading in each universe. Maybe there’s a lot of potential for Infestation to just prove that great tastes don’t taste great together, but that’s part of its charm: It has ambition, and (more interestingly for me) it’s an ambition squarely within mainstream interests: Mix all these familiar elements and different genres together and make them work. It’s harder than it looks, but I love that they’re trying. It’ll be a fun few months watching to see if they succeed as well as the first issue does.

(Here, read the first few pages for yourself.)

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Graeme, I have to agree; I don’t know how good any of this will be, but I had pretty much the same reaction when it was announced: you have to admire the daring of the enterprise. A Punisher/Archie crossover was practically a natural compared with tying all of this stuff together. I congratulate everyone involved for the ambition.

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