In 2 more of Double Take Comics‘ launch issues, the new publisher has helped cement the ground from which their universe is taking off running.  With a bit of exposition in these #1 issues, it’s nonetheless a great set-up to the issues to follow.

SPRING #1 by Sodini, Flynn, Heller, Santacruz, and Greenbaum

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If you’re looking for a book to begin your foray into Double Take Comics’ universe, then SPRING seems like a good choice.  While Double Take Comics’ universe is shared with the classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD film, the books have expanded on a lot of the history of the time period, helping this book to really feel like a 1960’s relic.  The art has a style that reminds me of the time period, and is very well done- soft coloring lends for a bit more dimension, and there’s some artful censoring.  The 60’s art-style aside, there’s plenty to remind you of when this story is taking place.  The front of the comic features a page of hit songs, movies, and TV shows from the 1960’s, which is honestly a bit unsettling.  The comic reminds us right away that this story is happening in 1966, which means about half of those icons that this page introduces us to probably will never exist in this universe.  It’s a strange thought that put me off balance, which I think is a good think for a zombie-universe comic.  By pulling me into this reality and reaching this realization, I felt a bit more connected to the story.

CLICK: Check out reviews of two more series from Double Take Comics!

The characters, many of whom are nameless, are all at a beach in Lake Mitena, in the fictional Evans County, PA.  We follow a few stories that characters are sharing as we see them arrive at the beach, set up their equipment, and go swimming.  Some high school or college-age kids end up going skinny dipping, while another few smoke a joint on a dock in the middle of the water.  This actually set up for a funny moment in which an adult floats by on a small boat, and one of the kids has to hold his smoke in and try to hide his actions.  It’s things like this that add a bit of personality to this title, which really kept me interested.  Though the story-telling was a bit detached from the action of the comic, I felt like the world was being built around me, and that’s a cool feeling.  It’s a real credit to the team that put this book together.

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READ: A review of Double Take Comics’ RISE #1!

Of course, just building a world and adding a lot of exposition can sometimes be boring, especially if that’s all that happens.  Fortunately, this is not the case.  There’s no narration, and as a result, you don’t feel overloaded with exposition.  It all feels very natural.  This is a fun day at the beach… or so it’s supposed to be.

READ: Find out more about Double Take Comics and Bill Jemas!

The comic is a fast read, and the end starts to suggest something sinister and mysterious is lurking beneath the water.  Obviously, in a NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD universe, the assumption is zombies, but the fact that you don’t get to see any of the zombies helps to create an aura of suspense and enigma which will have me back for issue two.

My one complaint about the book is in the font used, but it’s such a minor issue that some people won’t even notice it.  The font was similar to a Times New Roman style, which I’ve always felt was a more academic and official style- something you’d read in a book or newspaper.  I’m used to more traditional comic-book fonts (like the dreaded Comic Sans font, bane of graphic designers everywhere).  Like I said, this was a minor issue to me, which didn’t affect my enjoyment of the comic, but some might find it a little jarring.

Overall, as first issues go, SPRING is a good one.  There’s not a ton revealed or forced at you, but there’s enough to tease you and make you want to come back for more.  I know I want to see what’s waiting beneath the surface of Lake Metina.

REMOTE #1 by Mitchell, Wilson, Coast, Heller, and Jemas

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Remote is another good choice for folks diving into Double Take Comics’ shared universe.  Featuring the radio dj that can be heard in the other comics (including SPRING), REMOTE tells the story of the struggles of a young journalist who is left with the responsibility of keeping the world informed.  This might not seem like such a big deal, but April 24th, 1966 has gone on, it’s clear that things have only progressed from bad to worse.

The zombies that are hinted at in SPRING are pretty well established in REMOTE- we see plenty of zombie action, some close calls, and some inventive weaponry.  It’s clear that our journalist, Samantha Stanton, is quite resourceful, which is good, because she needs it.

As one of the bigger unifying factors in the stories, it is apparent how important the radio is.  She has to keep it functioning.  When the power goes out, she needs to brave the dead of night (no pun intended) to turn it back on.  When facing down former coworkers, she manages to maintain her calm and keep them at bay.

READ: Sean Bartley reviews Double Take Comics’ HOME #1!

Some might criticize the book for not showing this character freaking out too much; I could understand this.  The situation is overwhelming, and the fact that the character seems pretty unemotional about everything feels a bit off.  Her face rarely communicates more than mild concern at the circumstances, and she never has a moment where she breaks down.  I’m not saying that this is necessary- this character could just be a very strong character, and it’s clear that the zombies have become an obstacle she’s dealt with repeatedly, so this moment could have occurred offscreen- but it would have made sense to see it.  She gets snuck up on by a zombie and doesn’t emit a gasp, let alone a scream.

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One thing that I thought was neat about the art in this book was that it vaguely reminded me of the 1950’s pop-art style, the kind of thing that you might see in Fallout 3.  Again, this was a neat way to remind me of the era the story was occurring in.  I also love that the back of the book includes a map of the locations in Evans County, so you can see where the individual #1 issues take place.  It helps me bear in mind that each issue I read i only a piece of the puzzle.  As with any puzzle, I’m sure that reading each piece is how I’m going to get the whole picture, and with any extended universe, finding the connections between stories and titles is half the fun.

I know I’m looking forward to putting the puzzle together.

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READ: Find more from Travis Czap here!

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