Steve Niles has single-handedly created some of the most original and exciting horror comic titles in recent memory, everything from 30 Days of Night to Criminal Macabre to Giant Monster and many more. So when Fox Atomic announced he’d be writing the premiere graphic novel from Fox Atomic Comics, 28 Days Later: The Aftermath, their cred was instantly upped by about 40%, give or take.
And for good reason, it turns out. Instead of going the usual comic route of producing short issues that are eventually compiled into a full graphic novel, Fox Atomic Comics have jumped right to the book format. A good call on their part, especially for the consumer, since this book takes place over four distinct stages of the rage virus outbreak that has caused all those issues in Danny Boyle’s original. If they had come out as regular comic books it would’ve been too confusing, since all the stories are different.
Dennis Calero does the art for the first story, "Development," which gives the back story of how the virus was created in the first place and the fate of those responsible for it. I really enjoyed the cinematic quality this story’s art had overall; there was nothing exaggerated and it had a great overall atmosphere of impending doom from the first few pages.
The next tale, "Outbreak," tells of a family dealing with the spread of the rage virus across London. Out for a family picnic at the request of the mother, the youngest spots the same monkey from the movie in a tree and becomes one of its first victims. Things just get worse from there. Diego Almos and Ken Branch worked together on the art for this entry, helping to bring Niles’ realistic family to life by keeping it simple. I really enjoyed the story as it gives a look at the immediate aftereffects of the rage virus outbreak, something only barely hinted at in 28 Days Later.
Then we have "Decimation", set during the same time frame as the film. It follows one survivor as he battles against a masked man for what he believes is the right to call London his own. Why he’d want a city full of infected maniacs is something you’ll have to figure out for yourself. The entry is different for the simple fact that Niles had no intention other than to tell a cool story with a great ending that’ll make you smile. For evil reasons, of course. Nat Jones, one of my personal favorite artists working today, provided the gritty, dirty artwork for "Decimation" and his skills couldn’t have been more suited for this story.
Finally we are left with "Quarantine," which supposedly leads right into 28 Weeks Later when it hits on May 11th. The story bring together one of the scientists from "Development" and a survivor from "Outbreak" in a camp that is supposedly being used for quarantine, though the residents there feel that it’s more of a death camp. What’s really going on and how does it tie into the movie? You’re going to have to get the graphic novel to find out.
28 Days Later: The Aftermath was pitched as a book that would bridge the gap between the two films, though in truth only one story takes place during that time frame which is really the only complaint I can level at the book. Well, that and that I really wish it were longer. There are a lot of stories that could be told in this world and Niles creates some interesting characters, so it’d be great to see more of them down the road. For now we’ll take what we can get, though
28 Days Later: The Aftermath is a great companion piece to the first film and will hopefully serve to both satiate and excite fans for the May 11th release of 28 Weeks Later which, from what we’ve seen so far, seems to be Fox Atomic’s breakout hit. Finally. The various artists used to create the book are well paired with their stories and Niles storytelling skills are in top form here. This is no one-off project for him, you can tell he really got into the 28 Days mythology and took it seriously. Recommended!
4 out of 5
by Johnny Butane (of Dread Central)