28 Days Later: The Aftermath

I just finished reading 28 Days Later: The Aftermath graphic novel and figured I'd do a quick review.

I was already a fan of the film 28 Days Later by Danny Boyle so Aftermath was an interesting read even before I picked it up. The story reveals the origin of the Rage virus and shows some of the early outbreaks that led up to the movie's events.

Steve Niles handles the scripting chores and does, well, an OK job. The story comes off mostly as script-by-numbers. After a slight twist on the virus' creation (considering its original intent), Niles doesn't really delve much deeper into the virus' effects. Instead you get the typical zombie flick survival tales. Let me explain...

Outside of being cheap to shoot for film, good zombie genre stories use the undead as a framework to explore characters in very dire situations. Some people freak out and do stupid things. Some people find their inner survivalist and do everything they can to stick around. But whether its zombies or Rage virus victims, they're just the background noise; the main characters are the lynchpin to the story's success. You have to care enough about the folks trying to survive. If not, it really doesn't matter if the heroes become undead appetizers. For example, Robert Kirkman's done a great job through his series, The Walking Dead. It's about the people, not the zombies. Aftermath IS about the people, but the people aren't very interesting. They're simply going through a zombie flick script on automatic. I know zombie apocalypse survival stories can also be strictly about scaring the shit out of the audience and tossing character development aside...but considering how director Danny Boyle reinvented the zombie film/genre with 28 Days Later AND considering the freedom the graphic novel format provides, I was hoping Niles would use the stories in Aftermath to make the 28 Days world that much more interesting.

As for the pretty pictures, Dennis Calero, Diego Almos, and Nat Jones handle the art chores. Almos's style seems a bit out of place, mostly because it's bookended by Calero's and Jones' photorealistic/referenced art styles. Tim Bradstreet did the cover and it fits perfectly with the film's poster design.

Overall, it's not that Aftermath is bad; I'm just saying it could have been better. It's an OK companion piece to 28 Days Later but the real excitment will hit May 11th with the release of 28 Weeks Later.


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