(2007) Steven Niles with Dennis Calero, Diego Olmos and Nat Jones,
Fox Atomic / Harper Voyager (Harper Collins), £9.99, trdpbk, 105 pp, ISBN 978-1-904-2-6522-1
This graphic novel is a spin off from the 2002 film (first released as a video in 2003/4) 28 Days Later and a sort of prequel to the 2007 sequel 28 Weeks Later. For those of you who missed the original film, which was a superior SF post apocalyptic horror, it concerns the release for a highly infectious artificial virus called 'rage' that turns people into mindless wild beings. In the film the epidemic wipes out the UK except for a handful of survivors, and the urban scenes of desolation were extremely well done.
This graphic novel begins before the events of 28 Days Later and explains why the virus was created in the first place. It then continues through the outbreak in London, which in part is a bit of a re-vamp of the film. The new stuff comes in the final section which takes place in an evacuation isolation camp where we discover that in order to fight the virus an attempt is being made to continue with the original research... This apparently is the premise that leads us into this summer's (2007) film 28 Weeks Later.
The graphic novel is perfectly fine for a quick read, but there is not that much text to the artwork which at times begins to look a little like padding. This is a pity because the original film was not just a horror -- in fact the horror sequences were only around half a dozen -- but also a comment on the fragility of our technologically-based society. The graphic novel did not explore the problems of getting an adequate diet given the lack of fresh food, nor the lack of clean drinking water without water mains' pumps, as did the film. Having said that, the set up regarding the plague's origins is sufficiently intruiging that I am looking forward to the film sequel... but then I was already. Nonetheless this is a satisfying read and apparently Danny Boyle (the original film's director) and Alex Garland (screenwriter) had at least a watching hand in this publication.
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