Zombo : Can I Eat You Please?

When flight 303 en route to Epsilon-6 orbital station crash-lands on the leathal deathworld of Chronos, all is not looking well for the thirty-three surviving passengers. Enter ZOMBO; a top-secret government experiment – part zombie, part human ghoul – with a taste for living flesh. Will our friendly (yet crude) hero be able to save the passengers from a hideously painful death? And how will he cope with the sudden fame hoisted upon him by the Suicide Boys community and a TV talent show that needs new thrills.

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: 2000 AD

Ahhh… Zombo. This volume collects the two arcs of Zombo previously published in 2000AD as well as the one-shot from last years Xmas special and a new one pager, not down to be published anywhere else, which gives a sneak peek at the next story arc’s bad guy. We also get a covers gallery at the back, some of artist Henry Flint’s initial designs for the character and a Q&A between the artist and writer Al Ewing.

I’ll just cut to the chase… I’m a BIG fan of this strip. Loved it weekly in 2000AD and enjoyed it just as much all collected. It has that weird, dark humour that 2000Ad does so well and kind of reminded me of the old Nemesis the Warlock stuff by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neil in as much as its almost totally populated with horrible, ugly, surreal characters whose main motivation seems to be to out do each other in the nasty stakes.

In the first arc a ship carrying 33 pasengers crash lands on what we are told is a designated “Death Planet”. That basically means its a planet that hates you and wants you to die horribly, but creatively. From within a sealed pod on the crashed ship emerges Zombo, a six foot four, hulking monster who also happens to be incredibly polite and borderline house trained. It falls on him to protect, to a point, the crash survivors from killer moths, inbred Twister playing cannibalistic mutant families, a singing tree and the all feared “Death Shadow”.

The second arc finds Zombo becoming the hero of a group intent on each achieving the best viewer rating on a kind of Youtube channel devoted to people dying in horrible ways and travelling off planet to an orbital entertainment station where a heist gone wrong transforms into a zombie outbreak…. with bees.

See? I told you. Its a weird one. But its also laugh out loud funny, looks …. well, gorgeous is the wrong word, but the art is amazing, and has a psychotic zombie in Cameo pants as its “hero”.

For anyone unsure about trying a 2000AD book this is all new stuff so there’s no history you need to worry about and I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who was a fan of darker british humour such as The League of Gentlemen or such books as the original Lobo : The Last Czarnian which had the same kinetic energy and cartoons-gone-wrong levels of violence.

Zombo is definitely a character we’ll be seeing more of. His obliviousness to the horror of his usual situations, his skewed politeness and even his almost child like sensitivity and innocence make him a lot more than just a mindless killing machine even if he’s drawn as a cool as hell killing machine. To give an example Zombo attacks one of the suicididal Deathtube gang while his friend films it on his phone, and his reaction upon realising this?

“Im sorry Mr Hairdye, were you just taking pictures of me eating your friends face off? I’m not sure I’m too happy with that. I feel a bit violated. I mean, that was a bit of a personal moment for me and Mr Tastyface and I dont think it’s being treated with respect. Just because I eat peoples faces doesnt mean I dont have feelings”.

You know if Pixar ever open a “Lets make R Rated movies” division, they’ll be all over this stuff!

This collection will be released both as UK and US versions in October and will be getting a US launch at this years New York Comic Con where writer Al Ewing will be in attendance (look for a really tall guy with serious beard action going on).

Score out of 5 – 5.  The easily offended might want to have a quick flick through the book first though, especially if the thought of a Susan Boyle lookalike getting verbally abused to the point of tears distresses you at all. This book was all over my sense of humour, but that is at the darker end of things so you’ve been warned.

Dry Slaps – 1 because the “Zom-Bee” gag still makes me cringe a little bit.

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