“My brain. It’s going backwards. First the civilized mind strips back to the savage, the primitive, the unbound . . . and when the hunger takes over, that strips back to the most basic motive functions. Kill, eat, repeat.”
A couple’s retreat to smoky island with only a small community leads to horror when an earthquake releases a black gas that turns all who are caught by it into homicidal, black ink crying cannibals.
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WARREN ELLIS’ BLACKGAS
by Warren Ellis
by Max Fiumara (art, chapter 1-5),
Ryan Waterhouse (art, chapter 6)
Sebastian Fiumara (inks)
Tyler, The young man who returned home with his girlfriend for a retreat.
Soo, The young woman of Asian descent who joined her boyfriend for a retreat.
Peter Menlove, A friend of Tyler’s family, and professor of chemistry.
Kate, Tyler’s mother.
Alan, Tyler’s father.
Mr. Abraham, The island archaeologist.
Officer Wilmot, A police officer in the city on the mainland.
Officer Rader, A police officer in the city on the mainland.
Contains violence, mature situations language and some nudity.
Graphic Novel (collection), Horror, Thriller
Mass Murder, Cannibalism, Zombies, Vacation, Island, Earthquake, Police Officers,
Tyler and his girlfriend Soo travel to Smoky Island, where Tyler grew up, for a retreat at the family cabin on the West side of the bulge in the island. Along the way, Soo meets Peter Menlove, Tyler’s parents and Mr. Abraham as well as spies on one of the Doolan boys hacking up a dog in the middle of the woods.
In the middle of the night the pair are awakened by an earthquake which releases a gas along the line of the bulge — a black gas which travels Eastward — toward Tyler’s parent’s home and the town he loves.
Tyler grabs a gun and Soo grabs a bat to walk the hour through the forest to town which is something he’s never done. They encounter Mr. Abraham again, only this time he’s crying black oily tears and hacking the Doolan boy in half with a shovel. Then he attacks Tyler and Soo.
The night turns into one long hideous bloodbath as most of the town has gone insane and eating and raping everything they get their hands on. Can Soo and Tyler escape the island with their lives? And if they do reach the mainland . . . what horrors await them there?
I loved this story. I’m a sucker for a zombie tale and this was a thrilling whopper of a story.
The pacing was rapid with a little time for characterization. The dialog is held down to a minimum while the illustrations, sometimes very graphic illustrations, tell the tale. Facial and body expressions are very important because Ellis steps aside and lets the artist tell a great deal of the story.
Every Warren Ellis story I’ve ever read contains at least a few nods to science and scientific theories. In this story he talks about the blood mist that is raised when an army helicopter bombs a massive crowd of infected people — a mist that infects everyone in a supposedly safe hospital.
The story is told in 3rd person limited omniscient — from Tyler and Soo and Officer Rader’s point of view. There are no captions.
Warren Ellis sometimes gives you intense character pieces and sometimes intense plot pieces. This is more the former.
Okay, I have to admit that no one but Warren Ellis writes like Warren Ellis. Blackgas was one of three stories to come out of a bet made with Avatar Publisher, William Christensen. Out of that bet (or bets? I’m sorry I don’t remember and Warren refuses to take my calls — a zombie story (Blackgas), a spandex super-hero story (Black Summer) and a sword and sorcery tale (Wolfskin).