cover image 28 Days Later: The Aftermath

28 Days Later: The Aftermath

Steve Niles, and various. . HarperCollins/Fox Atomic, $17.99 (105pp) ISBN 978-0-06-123676-1

G ruesome rules in this horror collection. Despite the title, the four stories actually are set before or at the same time as the action of the 2002 film about the horrifying consequences of a manmade virus that infects humans with mindless rage, turning them into carnivorous brutes who infect others by spewing virus-laden blood. Niles’s scripts (one of which is included as a bonus text feature) show the creation of the virus by ethically challenged researchers, describe its uncontrollable spread as zomboid mobs wipe out most of humanity, and question whether the survivors deserve to survive. Like the movie, the stories also juxtapose the rationalizations that we use to justify violence—idealism, pride, revenge, love, etc.—with the behavior of the infected monsters. The characters aren’t especially interesting beyond that: some infected zomboids totter around, puking blood and exclaiming “Ghaaaagh!” while others dither and wait for death. Of the multiple artists at work, Calero’s two stories, “Stage 1: Development” and “Stage 4: Quarantine,” effectively combine glimpses of light with masses of darkness, and Nat Jones (“Stage 3: Decimation”) mixes scratchy agitated line work with a muted wash, especially in a two-page spread of a ruined Piccadilly Circus. Mainly, however, the art is just graphic enough to satisfy readers’ cravings for literal blood and guts. (Apr.)