How many zombie books have you read this year? I can’t begin to count how many titles featuring zombies, apocalypses, zombie apocalypses cross my desk each month, all vying for that coveted Walking Dead level of fame.
Most are okay, some are good, Junior Braves was great! What makes it so good? Glad you asked, it’s a few things.
First the story…
Junior Braves Tribe 35 (think Boy Scout Troop) heads out on a Spring Break campout. After a week of roughing it, learning some serious skills from their leader (a man with some definite back-story called Padre) they return to town to find their hometown overrun by zombies. Wait. A bunch of kids who’ve returned from a week filled with wilderness training find their town over run by zombies? If you’re a guy of a certain age and have seen the original Dawn of the Dead, or Red Dawn this is a recurring fantasy from your youth.
So the plot is solid, how about the characters? The group of boys consist of a broad range of personalities; over achievers, geeks, bullies, deeply religious types, the odd one out, you get the idea. But none seem cookie cutter. They have well written personalities and are physically recognizable from the start of the book.
And here’s the part that really separates it from the pack, one of the things I think make it a great book, Oni calls it a young adult graphic novel. It’s a zombie story that (at least in this first chapter) steers clear of overt graphic violence and uses no profanity. And the story didn’t suffer one bit. I actually went back and read it again just to make sure I didn’t miss anything but it’s true they wrote a tense, scary, exciting story without relying on shock gore or sex or over the top language. Bravo.
Then to top it off the issue ends on a severe cliffhanger, which just made it work even more. This is only chapter one, so I don’t know how it’s going to play out but I can’t wait to see how they bring this kind of story to a young adult audience.
Junior Braves of the Apocalypse Book 1: A Brave is Brave begins on comiXology May 5th and each of the 6 chapters will be released weekly through June 9th. After that we can expect the hardcover collection in July.
From the press release:
“[Junior Braves of the Apocalypse Book 1: A Brave is Brave, by writers Greg Smith and Michael Tanner, and artist Zach Lehner] is the beginning of an exciting new young adult graphic novel series that is one part Goonies and one part The Walking Dead. Full of zombies, adventure and handy tips for wilderness survival!”
– nuff said.