Lovefool 07.09.12 | Love in the Time of Zombies

Workplace romances are seldom a good idea, and even less so when your job is killing zombies, as the heroine learns in Gilbert Hernandez’s Fatima: The Blood Spinners.



Ah, the workplace romance. There are, really, not enough ways I can tell you that it’s usually a bad idea to get involved with someone you work with. I mean, I imagine it’s okay if you work at the sort of place that your Lovefool is makin’ money for the man at these days, with over 3000 employees on campus. Then you might be able to get away with it. Except who are we kidding? I interact with people in my department and, honestly, not very many people in other departments and I have to imagine that my experiences are fairly typical. I understand it’s a collaborative workplace, but these days that means most of our communication happens via our monitors and not necessarily over a cup of coffee at the campus Starbucks, making it hard to muster that spark that comes when you make blazing eye contact with someone across a sea of cubes when you’re both standing up to fill your water bottles at the same time.
(Yes, your Lovefool works on a corporate campus. I know, right? No, I don’t know anyone hooking up in the supply closet. I would tell you, nerdlings, if I did.)
Anyway, workplace romances are typically not a really good idea. I mean, what happens when you can’t make a deadline or there’s office politics that you’re not privy to but your boyfriend might be? Which brings us to Gilbert Hernandez’s crazy new book, Fatima: The Blood Spinners. You may know Hernandez from a little cult classic book called Love and Rockets. Fatima is an interesting detour from the typical realism of Love and Rockets, since it’s about a drug called Spin that turns anyone who takes it into a brilliant super-genius and then a rabid zombie within about a week. For some reason, people keep taking it. I don’t know. I wouldn’t try bath salts, either, but here we are. On the other hand, I usually take a pass on things with zombies, World War Z and Shaun of the Dead being notable exceptions, but Fatimaseemed a little special so I gave it a shot. It was a good decision.
Fatima, our heroine, is an employee of Operations, which seems like a crappy place to work, a shadowy organization that seems to run the world. It’s made better by her coworkers, like every workplace ever, especially Teal, Alexis and Jody. Teal and Alexis are field operatives, out there killing zombies, and Jody is a science operative, working in the sub-basements at Operations. Teal and Alexis are also together in a very real and, for Fatima, comforting way. Of course, just like in every company ever, Jody knows quite a bit more than anyone else, being in the home office and not out in the field. We find out later that this is not necessarily a bad thing for our crew but what a fate, anyway, trying to save the world against impossible odds every day.
Fatima goes through the motions of life almost unthinkingly—sleep, wake, eat, go to work, flirt with coworker, kill zombies, try to save the world, sleep. She really only seems to perk up for the flirting bit, going through the rest with a sort of stoic sadness. All of this is rendered in Hernandez’s typical style, which fits particularly well with his no-nonsense heroine, her strength echoed in her very lines. (I will say that I think it’s kind of weird no one is wearing pants at Operations, instead wearing these bodysuits that I imagine are handy for roundhouse kicking a zombie, but still…) Fatima is drawn well, though, and she’s why you can overlook some of Hernandez’s exaggerated ladies. She ends up handsome, which I’ve always found is a good look for a badass lady, since I’ve always felt handsome is a combination of toughness and beauty. Jody, her love, is drawn undeniably pretty with a hint of sad and it’s fun to see the two of them interacting, their lines lightening for a moment while their hearts do.
As always, there are some perks to dating someone well placed at the main office, which Fatima eventually attempts to make an effort at utilizing. I won’t spoil you because it’s a fascinating end to the second issue of Hernandez’s well-spun story of love and zombies but I will say this—Fatima is glorious in her routine. Sleep, wake, eat, go to work, flirt, kill zombies, try to save the world. Hold on to love, both hers and others’, and keep living to fight another day for it. | Erin Jameson
Click here for a preview of Fatima: The Blood Spinners #1, courtesy of Dark Horse.

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