Zombies vs. Robots Complete (IDW Publishing)

zvr-header.jpgYou might expect a comic about battle between gruesome zombies, malevolent robots, and sexy Amazons to be pandering garbage, but this gorgeously illustrated tale with a Freudian twist is anything but.



160 pgs. FC; $24.99

(W: Chris Ryall; A: Ashley Wood)

Let’s face it, there is a lot of crap out there in popular culture that ultimately gets exploited and overexposed. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and judging by the litany of indie books out there featuring ninjas, zombies, robots, pirates, and ninja zombie robot pirates, the trend has reached a boiling point. But most of those books are crappy, poorly drawn—and even more poorly written—attempts to capture the zeitgeist and make a few bucks by shilling to the lowest common denominator.

Luckily for all of us nerds who like our zombies and robots served with a little intelligence and a lot of style, there is Zombies vs. Robots Complete, with some super sexy Amazons thrown in for good measure! 

Published by IDW, Zombies vs. Robots Complete collects the Zombies vs. Robots miniseries as well as the Zombies vs. Robots vs. Amazons into one handy, dandy softcover edition. What you see when you open the book is exactly what you get: a good story pitting zombies vs. robots vs. Amazons, beautifully drawn and designed, with the excellent production values that IDW is known for.

Ashley Wood, the artistic bastard love child of Dave McKean and Bill Sienkiewicz, pulls out all the stops with his fantastic art and hyper-kinetic page layouts. The gallery of cover paintings is almost worth the price of the book alone. Wood goes for broke and shows off why he’s one of the best illustrators working in the business. Often fast and loose with his line work, it’s the coloring of book that helps balance out the elements and brings a lot of shine to the book.

If you think that Chris Ryall simply does his job in moving the story along and letting the art sing, then you’d be sadly mistaken. In Ryall’s hands, Zombies vs. Robots is an epic struggle for the soul of man.

The cover to Zombies vs. Robots Complete by Ashley Wood. Click for a larger image.Consider the zombies. The zombies represent the id, the uncontrolled part of man that is driven on instinct and impulse and only seeks immediate satisfaction of its primal urges and desires. In the case of the zombie, they are driven by the need to eat in order to survive, feasting on human flesh and brains. Thus the zombies become "brain-dead automatons and rotting reminders of man’s hubris!" It is of great irony that the collective, unconscious mass of zombies do not think, yet are driven to destroy—and gain nutritional sustenance by—brains. Intelligence is something to be feared, so they destroy the root of intelligence because they are afraid of what they cannot understand.

Conversely, you have the robots, man’s ego in full effect—the pinnacle of human scientific achievement, controlled only by rational thought and a desire to achieve consciousness. Robots are "brainless automatons and constructed remainders of man’s potential." The robots, by questioning their programming, free themselves from man’s control and flock together to form a society to serve their prime directive to "protect all robotkind." But the robot society is separated by roles based on robot model type, and in doing so, have formed a class based society that divides robotkind into distinct classes based on make and model. In essence, the perfect robot world ruled by logic and programming becomes a world built on human jealousy and insecurity, forcing class hierarchy on the robots and thus reinforcing their human makers’ own attitudes 

How does the whole debacle ensue? Three scientists discover a wormhole/gateway into the future. They bring the zombies back and the world becomes infected by the zombie disease. Robots are the only thing left standing to defend the earth. Fighting awesomeness ensues.

So if the first series of Zombies vs. Robots is an epic battle for man’s soul, the second series, Zombies vs. Robots vs. Amazons is a battle for man’s heart. What is an Amazonian but a primordial woman who is powerful, resourceful and deadly…not to mention untouched by man and drop dead gorgeous. Essentially, you have man’s antithesis and love interest, woman, taking shape in the form of the Amazons. Presented as such, womankind is shown as a mystery to man. Intimidating, unapproachable, and completely independent, the amazons have been doing just fine surviving in the post apocalyptical world without man’s interference until both the zombies and the robots invade their space and bring their epic battle into the mix. Throw in the rite of passage from youth to adulthood, Amazonian Oedipal complexes, gods, and orgies and you have one heck of a comic, ripe with Freudian theory.

Or it’s just a fun comic, with sweet art that pits zombies vs. robots vs. amazons. Either way, Zombies vs. Robots Complete is a must read. Honestly, how could you go wrong? | Carlos Ruiz

Click here for preview art and a cover gallery of Zombies vs. Robots, courtesy of IDW Publishing!

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