Late August is a good time to drop a horror one-shot because it’s bound to linger on the stands all the way up to chilly October. Dynamite Entertainment has themselves such a one-shot courtesy of The Living Corpse, which was originally a CGI movie. It may be a little early for a horror book, but is it good?
The Living Corpse: Haunted (One-Shot) (IDW)
The Living Corpse is a zombie who takes it upon himself to keep ghosts and ghouls in check. Why that is isn’t explained in this comic, but it’s probably not too important either way. The guy is a hero who wants to enact justice, which means kicking the ass of monsters and ghosts. In this issue he’s set to stopping a plague costume-wearing ghost conjurer.
The issue also contains two other stories, one that stars writer Stephen King and the other has The Living Corpse meeting a character named Mumbles the Clown.
You. Yes, you!
Being unfamiliar with The Living Corpse, and later, Mumbles the Clown, it was a bit of a trick to get into this comic. The first story does have some cool concepts at work, in particular The Living Corpse’s ability to physically fight ghosts, but the story concludes without much explanation as to why he was doing what he did. There’s some character interactions here I couldn’t pin down on the final page too, and a bit more exposition on who they are to The Living Corpse would have helped. This first story follows our hero as he lurks in a hospital for the mentally and physically disabled to stop a bad guy. By issue’s end it seems this entire story’s point was to show us how he got his hoodie and clothes.
The art by Ken Haeser and Buz Hasson is fluid and cartoony. The inking is thick which makes it decidedly more cartoony, but when The Living Corpse holds up a bleeding heart you’ll appreciate the well rendered pencils. The color by Blair Smith makes this first story pop, in particular the ghosts that are blue and have a fluid like look to them.
The second story is set in a hotel where Stephen King is staying. It appears The Living Corpse and Edgar Allen Poe are buds and take it upon themselves to throw a dead cat at King a couple of times. Even though King buries the cat it keeps ending up right back in his face in all its bloody glory. The art by Blair Smith is quite good, with a cool illustrator’s style to the characters. The story isn’t much more than a throwaway tale with a simplistic twist ending but the art is interesting enough to keep you turning the pages.
The final story takes place in a graveyard as The Living Corpse consoles Mumbles the Clown. This story very much reads like it was written for the original creator of Mumbles more than anything. Without any knowledge of this character it’s hard to care about this clown’s misery. You do get to see The Living Corpse in another facet of his job, being able to communicate the dead’s words to the living, which is interesting. The story isn’t much of anything though and seems to tie into the Mumbles the Clown characters story more than anything.
Though the art is by the same two folks who did the first story, it’s completely different. It seems to have been rendered on parchment or old paper, which helps give it an October feel. The inks and lines are all much more sharp and brooding too. The Living Corpse also looks far more scary and interesting than in the previous stories.
Wringing out ghosts.
- Well paced, colorful action
- Little less all ages friendly as the first issue
- The one liners wear on you
All three stories look great with completely different styles at work. This one-shot has also piqued my interest as far as The Living Corpse is concerned. If given an ongoing series I’m sure I’d pick it up after reading this. A zombie superhero who fights all things horror? Sign me up. It also seems to have a bit of a sense of humor, which makes this title further unique. That said, these three stories are either throwaway or seem to be written more for the hardcore fan than anything. It was hard to relate to and enjoy the stories because of this. On top of that the title says it’s a “haunted one-shot” and yet there’s nothing scary about it!
Is It Good?
No. Not a complete wash, but a hard issue to enjoy without knowing the characters prior.