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Dead @ 17: Revolution
Review by James W. Powell

Story
Dead @ 17 Revolution Review: Cover Image
Dead @ 17: Revolution

Story
Josh Howard
 
Art
Josh Howard
 
Letters
Greg Gatlin

Publisher
Viper Comics
 
Format
Softcover Collection
 
Publish Date
June 1, 2005
 
Cover Price
$14.95
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In Dead @ 17: Revolution, which collects the entire 4-issue miniseries, comic creator Josh Howard widens up his story and shows us just how big the conspiracy runs. In this volume we meet Heaven's Militia, a group with only one goal: stopping the evil Bolabogg from taking over the world. Jean (who looks surprisingly like Gina Gershon) is the group's leader; she has a history with Noel, and Nara finds herself caught up with emotions. She wants to protect herself, she wants to fight the good fight, but she also needs answers. Who is this enigmatic man who has consistently helped her in the past? What secrets does he hide?

Like the first two volumes, Revolution uses lots of exposition to further the plot, but luckily, it's purposeful and propels the story forward. Like most writers dealing with the final chapter in a larger story, Howard must cram in a lot of conspiracies and twists (and red herrings) into a small number of pages, and he (almost) fully solves every puzzle. However, this story is much better paced then what's come before: there's just enough action to keep the story moving rapidly with minimal hiccups along the way.

Good and evil, Heaven and Hell, the story of Revelations...hese are all elements in Revolution, which not only adds depth to the tale, but also elevates the story above the typical zombie clichés. Sure, the story has it's share of fights with the dead, but it's a bit more than that. There's something deeper and darker here, and it's not just about chopping up zombies.

Revolution leaves some plot elements dangling for the possibility of future storylines, but the climax to the Dead @ 17 saga doesn't let down. Certainly, a slower build might've worked better for such an expansive story, but Howard works well with what he's given, which is four chapters of 22-pages each. Nara's tale comes full circle and concludes in a way that is both surprising and satisfying There's really nothing more you can ask for.

Art

Dead @ 17 Revolution Review: Interior ImageHoward has really grown as a storyteller and as an artist. While there are a few panels that look a little rushed, the overall package has some really clean, consistent artwork. Everything here is much more crisp and dynamic when compared to the first volume, including the colors, which are more vibrant and powerful. Plus, he's added more range to the images, which now have a wider variety of angles, and many use multi-tiered imagery that show the present and the past in the same panel.

Howard chooses to use fewer panels in this volume of his saga, making for a less compact, more open presentation. This choice works much better since the trade collections have been shrunk in size compared to the serialized issues. Fewer, bigger panels also make the dialog less intrusive on the imagery because the word balloons fill up less space in the bigger panels. This is a big plus.

I also have to take a moment to congratulate Jim Resnowski on his fine work as the art director on this volume. The cover imagery for each issue really stands out on the comic stands, and the cover to the tradepaperback is no different. The red, "bleeding" logo on the stark white background is very powerful as it follows the less-is-more mentality that more comic covers should adhere too. I look forward to seeing Resnowski's hand in future Viper projects.

Bonus Features
As is par for the course, Viper Comics has included some nice bonus features in this collection. Naturally, you get cover reproductions for each issue. You also get a 4-page sketchbook that showcases early logo and cover designs along with notes about each. Of course, there's the photo of Howard snoozing, but we can't count that as an extra feature...can we?
Final Words

Dead @ 17: Revolution is a great finale to a wonderful series. It widens the scope of Nara's saga, which gives the supernatural conspiracy room to grow. While I would've liked a little less exposition and a bit more action, Howard does a fine job working with his page count constraints. Any fan of this series will assuredly eat up this volume, but those readers who haven't read the first two arcs of the series should be advised not to miss the first two chapters.

Recommended


James has written for such fine web sites as DVDtalk, Broken Frontier, and Paperback Reader. He lives in Denver with his lovely wife and two cats who wake him up at 3 a.m.
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