“ ’68” #2 (Comic Review)

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Originally published at Fangoria.com on June 11, 2011

In this excellent follow-up, ’68 #2 (Image Comics) pits an unforgettable zombie infestation in the middle of Vietnam War, following a platoon of soldiers who unfortunately find themselves lost in the enormous forests and abandoned villages.

Well-deserving of high praise, this issue is a brilliant example of stunning story and illustration. While the previous issue’s Yam and his racist Sergeant travel deep into the heart of darkness, a high profile actress, Fawn Landers, is elsewhere making an anti-war movie. As she heavily promotes peace, Fawn doesn’t realize she’s been deviously setup. Her producer, Declan Rule, is actually an undercover CIA agent with a secret agenda of his own.

Author Mark Kidwell (Fango’s BUMP) continues to gradually build tension, keeping the gripping pace page by page. The highlights of his writing style are certainly the strong characterizations and dialogue, the best example of Kidwell’s being the taut confrontation between Yam and his Sergeant. In his monologue, Sergeant acknowledges his extreme hatred for Yam, knowing exactly what the war has done to his mental state.

Aided by the gritty colors of Jay Fotos (30 DAYS OF NIGHT: NIGHT, AGAIN), the pencils and inks by artist Nat Jones (ROB ZOMBIE’S THE NAIL) perfectly ‘68’s jungle setting. Declan’s helicopter ride is unbelievably brutal and fierce, while the undead are absolutely nasty looking, with a final page that should sufficiently shock.

Seriously, no comics fan should be missing out on ’68. It’s an incredibly smart and original look at war through horror.