“28 DAYS LATER: GANGWAR” Vol. 4 (Graphic Novel Review)

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Originally published at Fangoria.com on May 15th, 2011

28 DAYS LATER: GANGWAR Vol. 4 (BOOM! Studios) is an action-packed combo of horror and survival. Selena, the tough-as-nails heroine from Danny Boyle’s film, 28 DAYS LATER, is still trying to survive on her own in the zombie apocalypse. She has trained herself nonstop to battle against the infected. As society crumbles, the last remaining inhabitants of Great Britain are becoming monsters themselves. With so much well-written characterization and compelling artwork, this trade paperback deserves your attention.

Due to such heavy losses in her past, Selena’s tough exterior has slowly become a heavy burden on her shoulders. Leaving people behind has become far too easy for her. To live another day, abandoning others became the best option for survival. Because Selena has lived such a lonely lifestyle, it’s still her against the entire world.

Selena belongs to a small crew, but she doesn’t want to become too close to them. She’s afraid the two survivors will just slow her down. With his vision impaired, Derrick finds himself at a disadvantage with Selena. If he doesn’t show his usefulness while blind, Selena will coldheartedly leave him stranded. Clint is an American journalist, who is still writing about how the infection has spread. He only wants to deliver a message to the masses, which will change everything.

During their journey, the group witnesses the worst in humanity. Across bridges, dead bodies are strung up from ropes for all to see. For cruel and twisted fun, prisoners are put into a cage for display. The captive is locked inside the cage and has to stay alive until sunrise, while the infected swarm around the cell.

With no government in control, the street gangs have taken control of Great Britain. King Dixon was a drug-dealing, murdering gangster before the infection. Dixon calls himself a ruler because he keeps his entire crew safe and well-fed. With gang riots erupting and the infected wandering the streets, Selena may not be able to walk out of this situation unscathed.

Author Michael Alan Nelson keeps the suspenseful plot moving at high speed. Overall, Nelson successfully manages to keep creator Andrew Garland’s theme of the unbreakable human spirit. Derrick is running purely on faith alone. With America safe from the infection, he becomes this beacon of unlimited hope while everything else is falling apart.

The artwork by Alejandro Aragon adds much intensity to the pages. The highlight of these illustrations is definitely the train heist. In order to reach London, Selena and her crew have to hijack a train, which is crawling with the infected. Selena chops her way through the horde with her machete, cutting off limbs into the air.

28 DAYS LATER: GANGWAR VOL. 4 returns fan-favorite Selena, as she goes up against another round with the infected. The 28 DAYS LATER franchise is taken to a new level here, where characters are making sacrifices they never thought possible. The only thing missing is the song from the film, “East Hastings” by Godspeed You! Black Emperor!