Boom! Advance Reviews: Codebreakers #1 and 28 Days Later #9

By | April 7th, 2010
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

On the day of their release, we have reviews of two titles from Boom! Studios – Codebreakers #1 and 28 Days Later #9. One is a hot new mini-series in the vein of Oni’s Queen & Country (but with more numbers and less guns), while the other is a continuation of their adaptation of the hit zombie film 28 Days Later.

Check out what Matt and I thought of the two after the jump.

Codebreakers #1
Written by Carey Malloy
Illustrated by Scott Godlewski
Review by David Harper

Before getting the chance to review this title, I had not heard anything about it. Codebreakers snuck up on me, but once I started reading it I was very surprised I hadn’t heard of it. After all, it’s a really fun book that comes across as a truly unique entry into the world of comics.

This debut issue introduces the concept that quickly draws the reader in: the main cast are codebreakers that work for the FBI doing various forms of cryptanalysis, and this is an interesting blend of characters.

There’s Stanley, the numbers savant who doubles as the first character we meet and the youngest member of the team (ever). Lindsay is a cryptolinguist who can read subtextual “code” in the average person’s words or behavior, and also is the subject of Stanley’s affection (from afar). Malcolm is a mathematician who is the seasoned veteran of the team. Lastly, there’s Donald Foster, the team leader who used to use his “powers” for evil and now uses them for good. All four of these characters are quickly developed, and in just one issue you feel a connection to each of them. It’s superb work by Malloy, as without rich characters this story wouldn’t flow so well.

The story itself finds one of their number apparently committing suicide, and the rest of the team looking for reason in the actions and the situation by using what they know: statistics. As Foster says, “people are just a collection of statistics…they’re just patterns that can be quantified.” The ideas that are conveyed haven’t been seen by yours truly in a comic before, and the way Malloy and Godlewski handle scenes like Foster’s analysis of his team member’s apartment is cleverly designed.

Godlewski provides very inviting art, giving the reader rich visuals, strong scene design, and great character work. His interiors paired well with the story, aby working in concert with Malloy’s script and adding a truly dynamic feel to many scenes.

This is a really nice debut issue that stems from a central concept created by Boom! publisher Ross Richie, but Malloy and Godlewski cultivate it to be more than it could have been in another team’s hands. I’ll be picking it up tomorrow, and you should be as well.

Final Verdict: 8.5 – Buy

28 Days Later #9
Written by Michael Alan Nelson
Illustrated by Leonardo Manco
Review by Matt Meylikhov

There are only two major zombie books on the market as far as I’m concerned: The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later. The magical thing about them, though, is that they are wildly different tales. While they both are on-going tales of the zombie apocalypse, 28 Days Later is the continued adventures of Selena, the female lead of the film. The book has managed to be an excellent follow up to the film and an interesting (and better than the previous comic…) bridge between the two. Of course, we don’t know the full story yet, or even where Selena and crew are going to end up.

Of course, this issue of 28 Days Later does in fact share something with the Walking Dead – things get considerably worse.

In this week’s issue, we find the crew safe and sound from Halkirk and resting. When Selena and Clint decide what to do about Derrick, they end up leaving with Douglas to continue their journey to London. However, when a helicopter approaches to disrupt the party, we begin to get a small glimpse into not only the future, but where Selena came from. And it’s highly intriguing.

Continued below

See, what is really interesting about this book is that right off the bat, we knew the main character Selena from the film. We know about the trials and tribulations she went through with Jim to get through London and make it to safety. But after the incident with the army, we don’t know what happened. We know that they were in some small remote hut, and we also know that Jim and Selena made it back to civilization due to a photograph shown in issue #4, but beyond that we don’t really know what happened because Selena won’t talk about it. Every time it is alluded too, she clams up. This is the first connection we’ve had with her past as a mysterious new military character shows up hunting for her. It would appear that all the “miscommunications” we’ve seen throughout the story so far may not be miscommunications but rather intentional attacks based on whatever happened in between the end of the movie and the beginning of the book… and that’s a huge question I can’t wait to see answered.

Needless to say, Michael Alan Nelson has been doing a great job with the book. The story has a great flow to it and is a good pace for a zombie story, especially when we’re not supposed to use the zed word. We don’t need our characters constant fleeing some kind of peril or dwelling on the dark sides of man’s soul and Nelson understands this. The story is well paced, and I really love the way he chooses to unfold the drama of the story so slowly. All things considered, we’re 9 issues in and we still don’t know what happened. When a writer manages to get a good pace to his story, and he keeps it, it’s actually much more terrifying, because in Nelson’s world we don’t know when we’re going to be attacked. It’s not a threat that’s always in front of us, but it’s a threat that is ever looming. It’s actually much more terrifying.

Meanwhile, Leonardo Manco is doing an excellent job on art. I enjoyed the previous artist on the book, but I enjoy Manco’s style much more. It’s much more gritty and apropos for the world and story being told. A dark story needs an artist who understands the type of direction to visually tell the story, and Manco is perfect for the book. He’s like a mix of Sean Phillips and Michael Gaydos, and he sets the tone wonderfully. His use of shadows adds an excellent sense of foreboding to the book, and considering where we’re left at the end, there is quite an abundance of foreboding to be had.

28 Days Later is one of the few property comics that I enjoy. Too often when a licensed comic book is released, it doesn’t feel like it has a true connection to whatever it came from, but 28 Days Later has done an excellent job with the further adventures of Selena. I can’t wait to see what other mishaps lay down the dark road ahead of her.

Final Verdict: 8.3 – Buy

David Harper