One of the things that has always bothered us in most horror films (especially zombie films) is that — for whatever reason — it is as if no one in the cast has ever seen a horror (or zombie) film before. So we always get the characters in the film doing all of the really stupid things that everyone in all of the previous horror/zombie films has done before them (splitting up, going into the dark, scary room, not aiming for the head, hiding a bite-mark, etc.). Seriously, haven’t any of these people ever seen a movie, or have Twitter? So, when we discovered Dynamite Entertainment’s The Mocking Dead comic, we were thrilled to learn that yes, someone can write a zombie story where the characters within the framework of the confines of the story itself actually have some prior knowledge and understanding of the precepts of the story in which they currently find themselves.
In the first issue of The Mocking Dead, a small outbreak of zombieism — through a long string of screw-ups — turns into a worldwide apocalypse. However there is something of a plan to deal with this, and once actual zombies begin popping up in around the world, the U.S> government seeks out a lone intelligence analyst who realizes that these real-life events are beginning to mimic the events of a long-lost, Grade-Z, drive-in horror flick (conveniently entitled The Mocking Dead). As he attempts to save humanity with this knowledge, he swiftly discovers that the only thing more dangerous than ravenous walking corpses is the unbelievable ineptitude of the living (go back and re-read our first paragraph).
What follows is a hilarious, and bitingly satirical send up of essentially every zombie film you’ve ever seen (with the possible exception of Shaun of the Dead, Warm Bodies and Zombieland — each of which do a delightful job of that all on their own). The premise behind Mocking Dead is that the military put together a program called Operation Tinseltown that was made up of essentially pop culture geeks and Nerds who all worked on developing countermeasures for the kinds of End of Life apocalyptic nightmare scenarios that Hollywood kept dreaming up (Aliens, Giant robots, zombies). However the program was eventually de-funded and all of the consultants scattered to the winds.
Well, once an actual zombie outbreak occurs, Vanessa Malik (the only operative that was kept on by the Department of Defense) sought out Aaron Bunch the zombie expert of the crew. Well, Malik was able to evolve from her Geek status and blend in with adults, Bunch is more of the classic “living in your mom’s basement” kind of geek (overweight, bearded, and with a encyclopedic knowledge of the pop arcane. It is Bunch that makes the connection between actual events and the Mocking Dead film, which sets him and Malik off on a search to either recover the last print of the film, or to catch up with the last remaining star of the film.
Their quest brings them through all sorts of harrows and death-defying adventures (in the most hilarious of ways), providing readers of this five-issue series with an thoroughly entertaining comic series that is more than just the horrors of yet another issue of Walking Dead or World War Z. Yep, this one is fun and so completely does not take itself seriously at all. Written by Frederick Van Lente and illustrated by Maximilian Dunbar, this comic is enough entertainment for those who love zombies, as well as for those who have perhaps have had their fill and could use a bit of comic relief.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular comicbook articles and reviews.