28 Days Later: The Aftermath

“Glad to do whatever I can to contribute to the horror show.”

Steve Niles presents three stories that takes place before the movie 28 Days Later and the last one which takes place between 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. Elements of the first three stories come together in the fourth.

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Book cover for 28 Days Later: The Aftermath by Steve Niles

TITLE:

28 DAYS LATER: THE AFTERMATH

WRITER:

by Steve Niles

ARTISTS:

by Dennis Calero, Deigo Olmos, Nat Jones and Ken Branch

SERIES:

28 Days Later: The Aftermath Mini-series #1-4

PUBLISHER:

Fox Atomic Comics

GENRE:

Horror Fiction, Graphic Novel (Collection), Adventure.

DESCRIPTORS:

End of the World, Rage Virus, Fast Zombies, Horror, Comics, Prequels, Survival, Anger,

SUMMARY:

Four stories written by Steve Niles, known for horror comic books like his 30 Days of Night series. In this four issue collection, he brings together three stories of the Rage Virus before the events in the first movie 28 Days Later and wraps it up with surviving characters in all three stories brought together in a fourth and final story that takes place after 28 Days Later and sets up the movie sequel 28 Weeks Later.

Stage One: Development is the story of how the Rage Virus was created – c’mon, you knew it was man-made didn’t you? It’s the tale of two scientists trying to isolate the neuro-chemicals that trigger aggression in humans and find a way to block them or reduce their effectiveness. Both scientists have their own issues with anger management – one flies off the handle when provoked while the other is preternaturally calm. How they compromise themselves well before and after the virus is developed held my attention in the story since the outcome was . . . inevitable.

Stage Two: Outbreak is the story of a family of five celebrating a birthday in the park when the outbreak occurred. It was one of those precious family moments you never forget until Liam, the youngest child is attacked and bitten by a strange monkey. In minutes the rest of the family finds themselves fighting for survival. The days of precious family moments are over.

Stage Three: Decimation takes place 29 days later when London is decimated by the Rage Virus and only a few lone humans remain, making war on the infected. Hugh Baker suits up everyday and hunts the infected. He’s learned quite a lot about how they track and kill prey. He knows how to safely take them down. However, when his gun jams at a critical moment and he gets a last-minute save from another lone human hunter it is not appreciation but outrage that Baker feels . . . then he begins to hunt the human . . .

Stage Four: Quarantine occurs sometime after the events of the first movie and sets up the second movie. Survivors from the first three stories find themselves gathered together in a mysterious quarantine camp. They have no idea who is running the camp or why or what their final fate may be. It seems like the Rage Virus may not be the only thing they have to worry about.

WHY I LIKE IT:

In all four stories, Steve Niles tells self-contained stories of death and survival. Like the best zombie stories, they show some of the best and the worst sides of humanity under extreme pressure. And they tell a good story — especially when you consider that these stories had to begin and end in the span of one comic book issue.

The artwork is very good. In reading comics, the art is as much a part of the story telling as the dialogue. All of the artists painted beautiful pictures which told the story. They had clean lines save for Nat Jones who brought a dark grunginess to his deep-in-the-epidemic tale. All of them, including Jones, were easy for the reader to interpret.

The only problem was that three different artists worked on the first three stories and then one returned for the last story. He has to work on three characters we’d met in the two stories that he didn’t work on and probably hadn’t seen. If there was a weakness, it was identifying the familiar characters in the last story.

This was a good quick read and a nostalgic trip for those of us who enjoyed the movies about the Rage Virus.

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