James and June Maillet
Updates M & R
Zombies have dug their place in the mind of the masses, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, it’s humanoid creature that wants to kill and eat you; one that was brought about by some folly of humanity, inevitably leading to a preachy message about ecology/nuclear warfare/science and what it has wrought. Scriptwriting gold. You can even have the survivors band together and tough it out through teamwork and friendship, or in the better movies, go completely bonko and kill everyone in order to hoard the supplies for themselves.
However, zombies have been fairly static in their form. While vampires have evolved from demons of the night to feminine, angsty teenagers and the werewolf has turned heroic, zombies haven’t changed much. In fact, the only real difference is the slight increase in their intelligence and the fact that they can now run. The biggest changes have come from things like Left 4 Dead and The Zombie Hunters, which introduce various kinds of “Special Infected”.
However, what if there was a society of intelligent zombies? Creatures that, apart from relatively minor physiological differences, look and act like normal humans? This is the world of The Other Grey Meat.
TOGM is, of course, brains. These are zombies that we’re talking about. But here we have Mr. Protagonist, a human that was thrust into this society by… well, we don’t really know. He gets picked up by a nurse, one of the more intelligent forms of the zombies, and she covers up his humanity from the rest of the society. Of course, things don’t work like that in the long run, so everything starts crashing out of control when a power struggle erupts between leaders.
Okay, so the political intrigue of the story isn’t the most original thing. I can’t say that I’m really invested in the fates of these people enough to care. It’s probably due to the fact that most of the archive was based around establishing the rules of the world, and it’s only now that the real plot is starting. Thus, we’re not really into it yet. However, that’s not the comics’s strong point.
What is? Well, the zombies of course! There is an entire society based around a relatively complex tier system, rating 1-5 depending on level of intelligence and quality of body. There’s all kinds of minutiae that I found rather interesting. Ignoring the story as a whole, it’s rather interesting to see how the bits and bobs fit together within the borders of the story.
That’s not to say that it’s a bad story, not at all. Cliche and a little dry, perhaps, but not bad. There’s the political plot that I mentioned above, and personal relationships come into play as well. That’s not as bad as it sounds, we’re not talking about romantic comedy (thank the gods). No, it’s just how the zombies act around humans, treating him like a object of wonder and delight. It’s different, that’s for sure.
Really, I read this for the world, not the people in it. It’s the same way as with The Zombie Hunters; the day-to-day struggle of the people is decent reading, but it’s the exploration into the world of the zombies that keeps you plugged into the archives.
In all, I thought it was worth reading. It’s dry at times, especially concerning the little kid, but those bits pass quickly. Let me say it this way: if you like zombies then you’ll probably like this.