This book is not bad, but it should be so much better. It’s frustrating to see it not quite live up to its potential month after month. Roberson has loaded his book with interesting characters poised to collide in fantastic ways but then they just…don’t.
Case in point: In this issue, a lot seems like its happening, but somehow never does. Gwen goes back to her old neighborhood to try to remember her life -- and more specifically her brother -- but short of learning about her brother (which we already learned about last issue) we gain no knowledge or insight into her or her past. Anon and Galatea, two of the more interesting characters, have an unrewarding flashback and vague conversation about the machinations Galatea is up to (apparently regarding a “great devourer” called Xitalu). Spot introduces Ellie to his grandfather Marvin, currently in chimp form, and then nothing happens. And lastly, and most disappointingly, Horatio heads off to rescue his partner from the clan of Vampire chicks that run the paintball game in the woods – which has been teased since the first issues – and he basically gets talked out of doing anything about the vampires by the vampires. Somehow I doubt people who list “MONSTER HUNTER” in their job description are going to be so easily talked out of doing their jobs.
So what does this comic have going for it other than a lot of missed potential? In a word (or two): Michael Allred. The visuals for “iZombie” are sublime. Allred has created a fantastic fully functioning world full of freaks that we really want to know all about. The problem is, other than knowing that she likes to whine and recap a lot, we know little more about lead character Gwen now than we did in issue #1. She looks phenomenal, from the pallor of her skin to her funky sense of style, but beyond that façade there’s nothing to hold onto. A year later, I still have no idea who she is.
It disappoints me to have to give “iZombie” a negative review, because it’s the kind of book I desperately want to like. It’s the kind of book I desperately want other people to like, for everyone to buy and support, and demand more of, but so far the story and characters are all underwhelming.
The upside is that there’s still a lot of potential here. Gwen, a zombie, is now dating a monster hunter, which seems rife with possibilities; Ellie sounds like she’s going to help Marvin find a less simian body to inhabit; and eventually I suspect Anon and Galatea are going to get up to some mischief, whether together or separately. But almost a year in, I’m wondering why we’re not well on our way to a lot of that already.