The Extinction Parade Volume One ReviewJuly 4, 2014
Generally, when people hear the name Max Brooks they can’t help but think of his books The Zombie Survival Guide or World War Z. Fans loved the apocalyptic world he created which was overrun by zombies (Although they remain divided on the movie adaptation of the book). Now, with a short story he had originally written in 2011, comes The Extinction Parade, penned by Brooks and illustrated by Raulo Caceres that was released on July 1st as a graphic novel compilation.
I enjoyed the book immensely and felt like Brooks had a good grasp on the zombies he created, so I was quite intrigued when I heard about The Extinction Parade. Combining vampires and zombies in the same graphic novel sounded wonderful, albeit a little daunting. After all, these two monsters are icons in the our culture right now so putting them together in an interesting way is a tall order indeed.
The first thing that surprised me (in a good way) was the large amounts of blood and gore. These aren’t simply a group of shuffling zombies or overly romantic and sparkly vampires portrayed on these pages. The artwork done by Raulo Caceres, combined with the story by Brooks, has made this a menacing and brutal look at these two monsters, which many lovers of horror or the genre will no doubt enjoy.
It was also very interesting to see the bulk of the story told through the eyes of the vampires. While humans and zombies are given the spotlight now and again, most of this graphic novel, which is the combination of the first five comics, is about the vampires and how they perceive the events unfolding all around them.
The zombie attacks are initially covered up and simply called virus outbreaks or violence erupting from civil unrest. Humans, in their usual arrogance, feel they have things under control and this allows the vampires to enjoy watching the carnage while virtually being ignored by the zombies. (Being ‘dead’ has its advantages)
However, as we watch things unfold though ‘vampire eyes’, we begin to see their concern heighten as the zombie population grows in leaps and bounds. Of course, their concern lies not with the humans themselves but in the fact that the zombies are beginning to decimate their food source. Humans are viewed as little more than lambs to the slaughter in this novel, with both zombies and vampires using them as a food source. This of course is the main storyline that will build up to the clash between the two, like two kids in a sandbox fighting over a toy.
The story builds up well and Brooks shows some great restraint by not jumping right into an all out vampire-zombie war. However, this doesn’t mean things don’t get bloody along the way. Caceres and Brooks combine to flesh out some brutal death scenes through the book that are quite well done. The horrifying imagery of bodies being torn apart by zombies or savagely mauled by vampires lays the foundation for some gruesome days (or issues) ahead.
As a first volume, The Extinction Parade is a great introduction to the war that is coming between these two monsters. How will the stealth, cunning and savagery of the vampires compete with the sheer numbers of the growing zombie horde? Will the humans be relegated to simple bystanders, like food waiting to be eaten in the fridge, or will they find a way to rise up and be a factor in this war?
With solid storylines and vivid, explosive artwork this is a series that has the potential to be something very special and I would recommend it to any fan of Max Brooks’ work, zombie or vampire enthusiasts or someone looking for an impressively gory graphic novel.