Mocking Dead #2: Review

Zombies are invading the planet and only a couch potato with encyclopedic knowledge of the genre can save us. And that pretty much sums up Dynamite’s new zombie parody The Mocking Dead, which promises a goofy mash-up of horror and slapstick that (mostly) delivers.

Here’s the word from Dynamite:

The side-splitting and artery-spurting epic continues as the battle for Pittsburgh is underway as hordes of the Mocking Dead descend — and Aaron Bunch’s pop-culture-inspired battle plan is put to the test! Will the Internet nerds of DIA’s Tinseltown Division save the city — or accidentally lead it to the edge of the abyss of total zombie apocalypse?

Okay, so a few decades ago the US Government decided it would be a good idea to create a secret program where uber-geeks applied their knowledge of films and comics to develop real-life responses to unlikely cataclysmic events: vampire plagues, giant robot attacks, and, yes, zombie invasions. Lead character (and fat slob) Aaron Bunch was the brains behind the operation, and he’s just been called back into action after a real zombie invasion begins. Too bad he has a credibility issue. Issue #2 concerns itself mostly with the implementation of Aaron’s plan, and the government’s resistance to following his advice down to the last detail. As you would expect calamity ensue.

Writer Fred Van Lente’s approach to this new title is sound; he knows his target audience very well and isn’t afraid of making fun of the genre they hold dear. Mocking Dead is dripping with zombie references, inside jokes, and seems consciously aware that in order to love something you need to take inventory of it’s stupider and most repetitive tropes — fear of fire, need for brains, and, of course, a love of Pittsburgh. In this sense Van Lente is doing the genre a service in that he’s calling attention to the staleness that’s permeated many “serious” zombie narratives. It’s for this reason you can sometimes forgive the fact Mocking Dead is at times trying too hard to be funny, and missing the mark.

Max Dunbar’s art add volumes to the enjoyment of this title. His renderings are funny, gross, and graphic — elements that are necessary for the success of this title. Van Lente offers Dunbar some nice moments of dialogue-free action (a flashback scene where we see how a pilot gets bit) and this results in moments of visual storytelling that offer some of the best scenes in the book.

Overall, Mocking Dead is a relatively funny title, offering a new twist to a genre that’s become mainstream enough to parody. But the humor can be hit or miss, and this detracts from the read as a whole.


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