The Rabid

After a brief two month delay, Viper Comic’s The Rabid is finally on store shelves. This is the latest from writer Jason M. Burns – known for A Dummy’s Guide to Danger and Gypsy Joe Jefferson among others – and the first full length graphic novel from artist Guy Lemay who’s also done work on A Dummy’s Guide to Danger as well as Sasquatch.

The story is about a small town that has become the epicenter for an outbreak of a virulent, mutated strain of rabies that seems to have been developed by the military. What starts as an airborne virus among dogs quickly spreads to the human population through vicious dog attacks. Once bitten the victims quickly begin to show aggressive, cannibalistic, zombie-like behavior and their skin takes on a sick, green palor.

Caught in the middle of this unfolding apocalypse is Sheriff Kevin Chase who will do whatever he can to protect his family and friends. But too many people are becoming infected. The infection is spreading too fast and for some reason all of their communications have been cut off. Trapped in a town that’s become a Romeroesque war zone Sheriff Chase leads a small group of survivors including his wife and son away from town only to be forced to confront the military who may be ultimately responsible for this tragedy.

Along the way hard choices will be have to be made as more and more people around Sheriff Chase and his family are killed or infected by the rabid hordes that used to be a small town community. How do you continue your normal life when you’ve had to kill almost every neighbor you’ve ever known and the people you love?

Burns’ story is lively, dark and entertaining. Adapted from a script he originally wrote for cinema, The Rabid has the pacing and mood of the classic survival horror films of the 70s and 80s. While there did seem to be some inconsistencies early and late in the story, there is the numeral “1” on the spine of the book so there’s a very good chance we’ll see a second volume to tie some of these issues up. Aside from that Burns borrows some of the best and darkest ideas from the horror genre to make an original and compelling story.

Guy Lemay’s art is a surprising compliment to Burn’s story. I say surprising because his art and characters are drawn deceptively simple. From the cell shading to his lines, Lemay keeps things minimalistic. It’s how he uses the tools at his disposal to tell the story that makes his style really stand out. He has a keen eye for the right angles and expressions to bring the story to life. His use of grim ethos and the grotesque ensures I’ll be looking for anything he illustrates in the future.

The superb story telling and art coupled with the low price of $11.95 make this a simple, guilt-free purchase that’s sure to be worth your time. If you like Jason M. Burns look for his upcoming Borderland from Viper Comics and Guy Lemay is currently working on Z-Blade XX from Reed Comics.