Zombie animals threaten humanity in ‘Other Dead’

In the world of monsters and mayhem, 2013 was definitely the year of the zombies and 2014 is no different. The living dead have dominated all aspects of the media world, film, television, video games and, of course, graphic novels.

Comic book enthusiasts already know of the widely popular “The Walking Dead” series; however, there is a new and different type of zombie infestation taking place, distributed by IDW Publishing and written by co-creators Joshua Ortega and Digger T. Mesch entitled “The Other Dead.”

“The Other Dead” is a graphically gory interpretation of what happens when the animal kingdom becomes the species affected with the zombie virus, rather than the human race. With the use of realistic and detailed artwork by Qing Ping Mui and a captivating storyline, “The Other Dead” is quickly becoming successful by keeping the reader on edge issue after issue.

The first issue starts off right away with an adrenaline pumping scene involving hunters in the woods who have just shot a wild buck. As the hunters go in to inspect their kill, they are suddenly facing a whole different kind of fear as the once dead animal has come back to life as a violently ferocious and bloody new kind of animal being.

Flashing back two days prior, the reader finds out how the infection started, which is an unusual bit of information for a zombie story. 

In most stories involving zombies throughout the decades, the cause of the infection is rarely ever revealed. In “The Other Dead,” the infection has come about due to a group of young men participating in an act of some sort of voodoo-like sacrifice.

Quite fitting for the story’s setting in Louisiana, which involves a bloody and nauseating scene. The teens slaughter a farm of ducks in order to use their blood as a sacrifice; however, their spell goes horribly wrong, causing the dead ducks to come back as rabid, flying zombies.

Going into the second issue, another main character is introduced to the story, one whom readers might know very well: President Barack Obama. The president plays a large role throughout the issues and it creates a very realistic feel to the comics having such a notable person as a main character.

As the growing threat of undead animals becomes more widely known throughout the nation, Obama makes his way to the heart of the problem in Louisiana, where it all started. Once Obama arrives, he is greeted in a not-so-nice way by a horde of dogs that are infested with the rabies-like infection.

Issue three is perhaps the most brutal of all. Several casualties take place in the most satisfyingly gory ways. For instance, one character is pulled through a car window by a bloodthirsty, zombie-crocodile, never to be seen again, while another character’s skin is ripped from their face by a dog.

Besides hordes of zombie animals taking over the South, a brutal hurricane is brewing in Louisiana which proves to be another problem for the remaining survivors. The two threats create an extremely adrenaline inducing situation for characters and readers.

Moving into issue four, the teens and Obama end up in a search to find shelter from the storm when they run into a very suspiciously neo-confederate, backwoods man who ends up taking them into his home. Awkwardness and suspicion ensue as the reader cannot be too sure of the stranger who takes them in, as his house is literally coated with weapons.

Some political drama takes place as well in the interaction between Obama and the stranger. The cliffhanger for this issue isn’t whether the threat of the animal zombies will attack the group but rather if the human being will be the next big threat.

In issue five, the survivors are all locked inside the stranger’s house when hordes upon hordes of zombie creatures start to move in. Putting all political and social differences aside, everyone pulls out a weapon in preparation for the inevitable attack by the zombies.

First a hungry pack of disgusting looking wolf-zombies begin to smash through the windows, only to meet their demise by the survivors’ bullets and axes. Then some terrifying stags attempt to infiltrate the house.

A rescue team on helicopter arrives with army men trying to rescue the president, but their plan quickly falters when a pack of menacing undead bears attacks them and they all die violently. The survivors manage somehow to get to the helicopters, get away and then decide to head to a nearby Air Force base.

Issue six, the last installment of “The Other Dead,” was short yet exciting. Instead of landing at an Air Force base, the survivors end up landing in an animal preserve where safari animals are the terrifying monsters in this issue.

After the helicopter crashes into the preserve, the survivors fight their way through stampedes of rhinos and zebras that are infected by the zombie disease. The group hops in a jeep and makes its way to shelter (very reminiscent to a scene right out of a “Jurassic Park” movie), and waits for rescue.

Right before the issue ends, one last battle between the rescue team and the wild animals takes place, which includes bloody yet artistic images of gunshots, blow torches and decapitations. It’s definitely survival of the fittest.

The issue overall has a happier ending than one would think as most of the survivors make it in the end. The best part is the epilogue at the end, where the writers and creators hint at a new series coming soon, which was very satisfying to see.

Overall, “The Other Dead” is an original piece of work that takes the themes of violence and survival and turns it into page turning, action-packed adventure for the reader.

With incredible artwork by Mui and coloring by Blond, the issues are great for more than just their storyline. Be on the lookout for “The Other Dead 2: Epidemic,” coming this fall, when Ortega and Mesch deliver yet another great read.