Friday, June 17, 2016

iZombie, Vol. 3: Six Feet Under and Rising (iZombie #3) by Chris Roberson, Gilbert Hernández, Mike Allred

The veil in Eugene is thinner than anyplace else in the world.  That allows creatures from other worlds and dimensions to slip through.  These creatures can be accessed by those who seek power. Amon knows that things are coming to a head but thus far he has been unable to convince Gwen that she has an important role to play.  Gwen however is only interested in hanging out with her friends and her new boyfriend Horatio, the monster hunter who still doesn't know that she's a zombie. Gwen won't be allowed to to be passive for much longer though, the shambling zombies have made an escape from a secret underground labyrinth thus forcing her to confront the supernatural world on terms that simply aren't her own.

iZombie is at its best when it's doing the scooby thing. Six Feet Under and Rising opened up with having the group fulfilling and the wishes of a recently departed soul and sending if off,  it quickly shifted to dealing with: Galatea, the government zombie killing group the Dead Presidents and Spot's disappearance. Six Feet Under and Rising is action packed but all of the action also made it seem so very cluttered.  Where the hell did the Dead Presidents come from all of a sudden?  If that were not enough, we also have zombie Russian cold war era spies and the brain of a mad scientist in a jar.  It's all too much too soon and without enough context to make it feel anything other than chaotic.

The Dead Presidents did give us some added diversity in the form of a take no nonsense Madison the zombie.  Madison answers to Lincoln but while out in the field, she's the undisputed boss.  Madison like all of the other zombie agents pay a price in that it costs them their original meat.  I get the sense that there's so much more to her character and cannot help but wonder if she's actually the original Madison but placed in a black female body.  I must admit to laughing at the idea that Nixon is the president that seems to get on everyone's nerves.

We didn't actually get to see much of the scooby gang together this volume.  Spot spent a lot of time trapped in the catacombs with the zombies.  I love that Gwen jumped right in there to save him though Horatio suggested she should just wait on the sidelines.  From the moment Gwen entered the catacombs there was no chance that it would end well for her in terms of keeping her secret.  I love that she was willing to jump in front of Horatio to save Spot should Spot be discovered in his full were form.

Speaking of Spot, perhaps the most interesting revelation about him thus far is not that he is so virginal that he's never kissed a girl but that when the thought of kissing a girl occurred to him, he suddenly thought of Gavin, Gwen's brother. What does this mean? We know that in UVampire (volume two), there was a lot of taunting of Scott because he is perceived as gay by his friends but there was nothing overt in the story to suggest Scott actually being gay or bisexual. Scott's instantly confused by his thoughts of Gavin but it's enough to make me wonder if iZombie is going to make Scott canonically gay?  Given the homophobic taunting that iZombie's engaged in so far and the absolute erasure, it would go along way to improving this series.  I for one am sick of Scott mooning over Gwen; however, if Scott should in fact be gay, things won't run smooth with Gavin because it seems that Gavin is possessed.

I suppose the overall theme of this novel is what exactly constitutes a monster.  We have the Dead Presidents, who risk their unlife for the good of humanity and of course the Scooby Gang, who try to deliver on the dying wish of the dead.  Then there's the paintball vampires who are extremely pragmatic about their survival and need to feed.  The Fossor Corporation, whom Horatio and Diogenes work for who seem to start from the idea that everyone supernatural is bad. Sure, they made a deal with the paintball zombies but that's only because the zombie threat seemed more pressing.  Upon finding out that Gwen is a zombie, Diogenes immediately wanted to place a bullet in her.  The Fossor Corporation is not wrong in that some supernatural are clearly evil but certainly not all of them.  It will be interesting to see how these two groups come together.

With all of the action going on in Eugene, Gwen sometimes slips into the background.  From the moment Amon met Gwen, he made it clear that she had a higher purpose and she ran from the very idea, content to just get through her undead life.  Finding out that Gwen not only new Amon before she died but that she killed herself because he asked her to was an absolute shock.  Not only am I not sure where this is going, I'm not sure that I like this at all.  Was Gwen some sort of true believer and what power did Amon hold over her to convince her to take the drastic step of taking her own life?

There are so many loose threads in the storyline at this point, I don't know how iZombie is going to wrap everything up in Repossession (volume 4). There's the whole thing with the Xitalu end of the world thing, competing monster hunters, a possible love triangle with Amon, Horatio and Gwen. Spot's sexuality is still up for grabs and of course his grandfather who wins every scene is he in, is stuck in the body of a chimp.  If that were not enough there's the paintball vampires out there as well. I just cannot see this all being neatly tied up in a bow in one volume.  I know that the writers were expecting to create more issues of this graphic novel and so perhaps the rush ending is the result of a forced cancellation; however, had they invested more into the world building they might not be in this position now.