Story by Brian Buccellato, Jennifer Young
Art by Matias Bergara
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: September 5, 2016
Hey Nation! You’ll never guess what I found today! A new comic about flesh-eaters: Cannibal #1! I know, I know; you think it’s a blatant rip-off of a particular beloved comic and TV series I just can’t quit, but you’d be wrong. Any similarities to The Walking Dead are superficial, at best.
Writers Brian Buccellato and Jennifer Young (as J. Young), with art from Matias Bergara, have crafted a gloomy tale of self-aware cannibals who lay siege to a sleepy community located in southern Florida called Willow. Cannibal is published by Image Comics and is off to a solid start.
Cannibal is not a mere rehash of the tired tales of mindless zombies. Rather, there are no mindless zombies. The cannibals in this story are acutely aware of what is happening and even express remorse while not being able to control their insatiable need for human flesh. Their cannibalism stems from a hastily produced and faulty vaccine created in response to an outbreak of a disease that had been dormant for a century. News reports across the country had detailed many of these attacks, but the people in Willow were unconcerned as nothing was going on in their small town; creating a an out of sight, out of mind mentality. Of course, that all changes after the first cannibal attack.
As the story is in its introductory phase, it will take some time for the characters to fully develop both their personalities and relationships. It will be interesting to see what happens once the infected people are family and friends of the protagonists. I eagerly anticipate this further development by Buccellato and Young which will help readers understand the motivations of certain characters, so no judgment can be passed until further issues have been published—which I’m very much looking forward to!
Cannibal has a nice rhythmic pace that keeps the story moving forward. It occasionally picks up at times and slows down in others; But that is hardly a criticism. In fact, this asymmetry is what makes the story more realistic. Life itself can be chaotic one moment, while dead silent the next; these highs and lows are what make life interesting and Cannibal a fascinating read!
When I started reading Cannibal, I immediately felt like I had been transported to the Everglades in Florida which is exactly what great artwork should do. Bergara’s art tells as much story as the dialogue does. It serves as a reminder that only reading the dialogue while glossing over the images in a comic, you’re doing yourself a disservice—not to mention, to artists who put forth a large amount of effort to tell a story.
Bergara’s artwork not only tells the story, he makes it appear as if we’re part of the story. Take, for example, the initial cannibal attack. The illustration is from the victim’s point of view and the cannibal is looking directly at the reader with his arms outstretched beyond the page’s frame as if the reader themselves is about to be eaten. It hooks the reader from the very beginning.
Final Thoughts on Cannibal #1
Cannibal #1 is a solid introduction into the survivor-horror genre. It’s put a welcome spin on the zombie tale, so dear readers of Pulp Nation, you can be confident that this somber tale will stand on its own two feet.
Cannibal #2 is due to hit the shelves of your favorite comic store November 9, 2016. If it’s not in your pull list; it should be.
One last thing; I need to thank Keith at Freakshow Comics in Niagara Falls. If not for him, I never would have come across this gem. Thanks again Keith!
*Unless otherwise noted, all comics I (Bradley) review are provided by Freakshow Comics in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada*