by Keith Giffen, Kody Chamberlain, Chee (Boom!, 2007)

Zombification, with all of its accompanying putrescence and rotting grossness, is no game. At least, it wasn't until writer Keith Giffen got his hands on it.

In Tag, the zombie lifestyle is a curse that traces its roots back to Cain and Abel. Once tagged, a person quickly begins to rot, exhibiting none of the usual signs of life (heartbeat, blood pressure, body temperature, etc.) except for, well, he doesn't fall down or stop talking.

In this case, it's Mitch. And believe me, Mitch is no prince of a man, and his girlfriend/ex-girlfriend Izumi isn't a whole lot better. But a guy with a grudge and bad case of skin rot tags Mitch on the street, and immediately that guy's complexion clears up and Mitch starts feeling really, really bad.

Then, as his joints swell up and his flesh falls off over the next few days, he starts having visions that will lead him to the next guy he's supposed to "tag."

It's a pretty cool concept that takes the usual sort of zombie tale in a new, unique direction. Giffen goes an extra step by giving us a protagonist that readers probably won't really like, although it's hard not to sympathize with the guy as bits of him start hitting the floor. Artwork -- some by Kody Chamberlain, the rest by Chee -- is dark and moody to suit the tale. And the ending ... well, it might just leave you hanging.

The book also includes Giffen's short feature "10," drawn by Andy Kuhn, in which 10 people each receive a gun, 10 bullets and the name and address of the person they're supposed to kill. It's a "last man standing" sort of thing, but this story, unlike Tag, didn't hold my interest for long.

review by
Tom Knapp

11 October 2008

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