Stop if you’ve heard this one before. The parallels between this book and the long-running The Walking Dead series are painfully obvious. At this point, the only thing that separates the two series is a few centuries. Corrective action needs to be taken for this limited series if it’s going to be taken as something more than a complete rip-off.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Robert Kirkman and the creative team from The Walking Dead must be blushing with pride. In the first issue of that long-going series, Deputy Rick Grimes awakens from a coma to find the world overrun by zombies. He gets help and perspective from kindly Morgan Jones, who fills him in on the apocalypse and how to kill the undead, by damaging their brains.
In this issue, village protector Kain awakens after an attack in the last installment, only to be schooled by Jeremiah, who explains the kingdom is being overrun by zombies who can only be killed by damaging their brains.
As they say, good artists borrow, great artists steal.
It’s too soon to know if series writer and artist Etienne Derepentigny is actually great or just glomming onto the success of those who have created before him. At this point, though, it feels more like a blatant rip-off and money grab than an homage. Even Derepentigny’s artwork harkens to the Dead series look and feel, albeit it in color.
At least the setting is different. Instead of another contemporary zombie movie, this series is set in the Middle Ages, so it’s all swords and axes instead of shotguns and pistols. And by the end of the issue, Kain leads a small team off to look for his mate (again reminiscent of Grimes’ search for his wife and son).
One striking difference between the series is that it looks as though the reader will learn the source of the outbreak. We’ve seen glimpses of supernatural creatures previously, and they show up again here. Perhaps they represent a needed change in storytelling tact – and an opportunity to differentiate the tale. Otherwise, the publisher may be getting a threatening call from Kirkman’s attorneys.
Dead Kingdom #2 will be available for purchase on October 26, 2022.