Now On Kickstarter: Under The Flesh (Graphic Novel)

“An Unknown pathogen which only infects males is unleashed upon Earth. Global military powers are wiped out. Governments crumble. Societies demolished. Hope viciously fades…”

That is the premise for the Graphic Comic Kickstarter currently being funded called Under the Flesh.  The pair of indie creators responsible for the project are script-writer Gilbert Deltres and artist J.L. Giles.

The title takes place in your typical post-apocalyptic zombie destroyed world with a twist—instead of dead ravaging the countryside the ‘zombies’ or Eaters in this case are infected with a virus, a virus that only infects males. What exactly this virus does or how it spreads is left largely un-answered in the first comic following your typical format for the genre’s ‘unknown’ zombie caused humanocalypse.

It is a story that concerns a small group of survivors, again another staple of the genre, who are overwhelmingly female but that also include the main character of the comic, a military specialist named Ruben and the annoyingly non-alpha male fellow named Paul.

survivors

Also as is typical of the genre there is a lot of inter-party strife with religious outcry and its foreseeable backlash, mild sexual tension, relationship jealousies, moral apathy and the obligatory uncertain ‘others’ coming from the outside to threaten the party’s safe place.

What immediately comes to mind when reading the comic is the clear homage to Y: The Last Man, with an apocalyptic narrative presumably going to be told through the eyes of a single male protagonist amidst a sea of women. However unlike Vaughn’s deftly sensible critique of a female dominated society, Under The Flesh seems much more concerned with sticking to a grind-house feel, both in terms of artwork and as character fulcrums.

The artwork is decent if not captivating, telling the story ably enough from page to page with comic-book larger-than-life compositions drawn over with a gritty, rough sketchbook-like feel. The dialogue at times feels forced but nevertheless pushes the story along, a story that itself is awash in fitful conflict. This conflict takes the form of Ruben’s jealous girlfriend, a sexually impish teen, an orthodox Muslim looking for the virus’s cause, a group of bikers coming to wreck things—the list goes on.

There is clearly a lot going on in the first graphic novel. However with all the noise it’s a little tough to figure out why any of it is actually happening. It’s a nice mash-up of the various criteria that make it a ‘zombie’ story but doesn’t venture into the choices for the icons it chooses to put on display.

Overall the comic both in terms of story and artwork hint at a promising arc, but the first issue pushes towards the gritty grind of zombies, very loudly and very antagonistically, seeming to miss the subtleties that defines the genres true allure. But, compared to many zombie rags out there, Under the Flesh is definitely a fresh chainsaw cut above the rest.

Rating: 3/5

GS Blogger: Jesse B

 

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