Story by: Keith Giffen (with Mike Leib) Art by: Kody Chamberlain & Chee Published by: Boom! Studios
Tag Deluxe, a different kind of zombie story, is a really tidy story based around a simple yet effective concept; a man is ‘tagged’ by a mysterious stranger and from that moment onwards, our slowly decomposing ‘hero’ faces life as the Living Dead! The premise behind this book is good, I enjoyed how Keith has taken a different slant on the zombie story – especially in such an over-saturated genre.
From the very start we get a feel for the characters; in Tag they are well set up, the relationship between the two main characters is effective and human. The plot is a conventional chronology, which works well with this ‘deteriorating’ situation for Mitch. There are a few sections where the pace drops somewhat, before it picks up once again. As with any kind of zombie story, human morality has a fair influence on the story – from the very beginning there is a theme of morality, good and bad, running through the narrative of the book. The feel conveyed in the art is subdued, dark, and washed out. This compliments the ambiance derived from the story. Later in the book, some of the detail work in the panels is a little messy, which is unfortunate as those panels jar the experience.
What you get, when you reach the end point of the story, is a neat concept for a zombie story, a workman-like plot allied to strong character development and a downbeat but effective twist. It isn’t a ground breaking zombie horror, but it is interesting and, if you are a zombie freak, this is a worthy addition to your collection.In addition to the main story, in this Deluxe edition you also get Keith Giffen’s Dead Meat Trilogy – which is a small scale zombie story. It is not as accomplished as Tag, the central character does not have the same depth or development as Mitch or Izumi. The scenes don’t link together too well, giving the story a disjointed feel. However, there is a nice touch of humour to proceedings. And the art here, by Ron Lim, is at times nicely effective.