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Review: 28 Days Later: The Aftermath

Apr. 6, 2007by: Ammon Gilbert

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Im a huge fan of 28 DAYS LATER, as its gritty style and different take on zombies in an apocalyptic world really dug its fingers into me and terrified the shite outta me when I saw it in the theaters. Least to say, when word got out that Fox Atomic was busting out a 28 WEEKS LATER, a sequel to Danny Boyles modern-day horror classic, I was ecstatic. But a few questions really dug into me- like, what happened between those first 28 days, and the 28 weeks the sequel supposedly starts off at?

Lucky for us Fox Atomic had our backs, and hooked up with publishers HarperCollins, and horror mastermind Steve Niles (30 DAYS OF NIGHT) to bring us 28 DAYS LATER: THE AFTERMATH, a linkage of DAYS to WEEKS in the form of a quick paced graphic novel. The result? A deeper look into the Rage Virus, the epidemic that followed and the quarantine that was inevitable.

The Stages:

The storys broken out into 4 different stages, the first being Stage 1: Development. This section has artwork by Dennis Calero, and follows two research scientists as they embark on discovering a new inhibitor to regulate anger-control issues. Seems like a good idea, right? Wrong! After they run a few tests on a lab-monkey, the monkey breaks free in a state of rage, and the rest is history. While I felt like I had seen this before (the beginning of 28 DAYS LATER), it gave a nice inside look at the background of those who invented the virus, and their reasoning for it. This section was beautifully drawn, with crisp/clear images, and a few instances of gore and carnage to satisfy the gore hound in everyone.

Stage 2: Outbreak: artwork by Diego Olmos and Ken Branch, this section follows a family as they first encounter the outbreak (set one day after Stage 1) of the Rage Virus at ground zero. The family consists of 2 teenagers, 1 little boy, plus mom and dad. Shit hits the fan when the little boy is attacked by the escaped lab-monkey, and is taken to the hospital. Not a few days later, the entire city is infected, and chaos reigns supreme.

What worked well with this segment is the little boy, who goes from sweet and innocent to raging, blood-thirsty maniac in a few pages. While the family dynamics were different, showing a story on this level did a good job at presenting the state of chaos and terror that flooded the city on a more personal level. This section had the look of a more traditional comic book, with plenty of gore and action sequences to keep the story moving at a quick pace.

Stage 3: Decimation: artwork by Nat Jones, this is by far my favorite stage of the bunch, as not only is the story fun and interesting, but the artwork is gritty and somewhat disturbing. This section follows a lone vigilante as he occupies a nearly deserted London, whose mission is to track down every last one of the infected, and blow them away. He also figures out how the infected are able to track down their prey, which is likely a key plot point in the future.

While its his mission to put a bullet in all of the infected, he doesnt want any help along the way, so when another vigilante shows up in his neighborhood (sporting a hockey mask, no less!), he switches from sane renegade to obsessed insanity in the blink of an eye. This section has the most disgusting gore shots out of all them, and I was loving every single one of them.

Stage 4: Quarantine: artwork again by Dennis Calero, we meet back up with the surviving scientist from Stage 1, the brother & sister from Stage 2 and the vigilante from Stage 3, as their paths cross one another inside the Quarantine camp, thats supposedly there to keep people safe (though it's run more like a concentration camp than anything else). However, these select prisoners figure theres more to it, and attempt an escape.

I liked this final stage because it tied the previous 3 stages together, and seems to be the real bridging stage between the first film and the sequel. Artwork was clean-cut like the first stage (same artist), and the story itself packed more punch here than previous three. From what I can tell, the Quarantine is what sets the stage for 28 WEEKS LATER, and is what I was really looking forward to when I sat down for the read.

Bonus: script for Stage 3: Decimation: After the story is finished, youre treated to a bonus section at the end, which is the script for the vigilante section, from writer Steve Niles. It describes what each panel should show, as well as the dialog spoken by each of the characters- basically a screenplay for the graphic novel. I really dug on this bonus section, as I honestly never knew this is how graph novels were written before they were drawn. If youre a fan at all of this style of storytelling, youll likely dig this bonus a lot.

The Outcome:

28 DAYS LATER: THE AFTERMATH was a quick paced, intense ride for the 28 DAYS LATER lover in all of us. The writing was slick and intelligent, and set up the 28 WEEKS LATER pretty well. I liked that each Stage had a different artist, as it provided a sort of visual variety, while the storyline and tone was kept consistent throughout. The only downfall here is that the majority of the story touches on aspects we already saw in 28 DAYS LATER, and very little on The Aftermath.

I guess you could say I was expecting for more of a continuation of 28 DAYS, rather than a 28 DAYS that followed a different group of characters through the same chaotic ordeal. Overall, if you cant wait to see what 28 WEEKS has in store, and youre a fan of graphic novels on any level, then THE AFTERMATH is for you- just dont expect any new revelations or insights on the basic story of the Rage Virus and it's aftermath.

Rating: 3 Out of 4 Stars


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