DIE!NAMITE Shambles Along Trail Blazed by Marvel Zombies, DCeased

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Die! Namite #1

As soon as I saw the design for this first issue -- a zombified Red Sonya and the "how did they not think of this before" title, DIE!NAMITE, I knew -- absolutely knew, I say! -- that this was going to be a Johnny-come-to-lately knockoff of the inventive and entertaining DCEASED, a hanger-on for the fans of THE WALKING DEAD still pining the demise of that series. It was obvious -- obvious, I'm telling you! -- that they were going to give their licensed characters the zombie treatment, present them as a threat to surviving heroes, and wrap it all up in the five-issue allotment scheduled for the run. But, what the hell, it could be fun.

DIE!NAMITE delivered more than that. The series not only sets up bound-to-intersect storylines for Red Sonya and Vampirella (who, honestly, get enough team-up exposure as it is), but it also brings in the seldom seen John Cartet, yet another interpretation of Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, and a comic book character I haven't seen in years whose presence is bound to stir up a little...chaos!

The intertwining tales -- that have yet to intertwine in this issue -- begin with an aged Mister Carter, sitting in his wheelchair on the balcony of a retirement home, gazing up at the night sky and pining away for his beloved Dejah Thoris. And just like that, he stands once more on Mars, rejuvenated and young again. (John Carter's trips to the red planet were always done via astral projection into a new physical body.) But his joyous return is cut short when he leaps, Superman-like, into the capital city of Helium to be greeted by a crowd of Tharks who are decidedly different -- and deadly.

Meanwhile, in deep space, a Drakulon vessel picks up a signal from a nearby derelict ship. Despite trying to maintain a strict schedule, the captain is persuaded by his guest, Vampirella, to investigate the ship and see if there are any needing help -- an event that leads them to change course from Drakulon... to Mars!

The issue is narrated by one we later learn to be the Red Llama, and he's not speaking to the audience -- he's speaking to Peter Cannon, preparing him to go out into the world and face down evil. In this event, evil happens to be a plague of zombies just outside the walls of the monastery. And in the sword-and-sorcery world of Red Sonya, we find the She-Devil With A Sword tracking down a fellow thief who had double-crossed her, only to place her square in the sights of an undead horde with nowhere to turn.

This is more than a zombie apocalypse; it's a zombie crisis, happening in multiple places and multiple times throughout the universe. Fortunately, Sonya makes a last minute friend with someone who knows a thing or two about bloody chaos and gore. If you were a fan of this character before, you're not going to want to miss getting this issue for his surprising and unexpected return!

Declan Shalvey and Fred Van Lente team up to draw together some of Dynamite's best and brightest characters to fight a universal threat that will take all their prowess -- if it doesn't take their lives first. The art by Vincenzo Carratu and Juston Mason, with Kike J. Diaz's colors, is not very detailed in some scenes, but then turns intensely detailed in others -- and always serviceable throughout. But it's that main cover by Lucio Parrillo that is going to have this undead thriller leaping off the shelves and into readers' hands -- and it ought to leap into yours, too.

4.0 / 5.0