Review: The Final Plague #3
Horror can be most terrifying when it’s something you can’t see. Take the film Poltergeist, for example. We never see the realm Carol Anne finds herself trapped in, and chances are, what we create in our minds to fill that void is probably scarier than anything the film’s creators–talented people such as Steven Speilberg and Tobe Hooper– could give us.
What Poltergeist did was hide the nightmare and instead focus on the trauma of everyday life in such a situation. A similar approach is at the center of The Final Plague #3, the zombie horror mini-series from Action Lab.
This month’s installment of The Final Plague slows things down and focuses on the why of the situation—why are people turning into zombies and how are animals infecting them? The story continues to focus on a group of scientists as they try to answer these questions and an Iowa family as they continue to deal with the plague the scientists have unleashed.
But the issue’s biggest moment puts the reader in the middle of an Iowa hospital as plague victims are beginning to converge onto the scene. The victims are isolated into rooms by police officers and hospital staff who have no understanding of what they are dealing with. Meanwhile, family members worry in the waiting room, desperate, anxious and very aware of the bloodcurdling cries the victims emit from behind closed doors as their transformations from human to zombie take place. The key conflict in this moment is reality vs. fantasy and the attempt to cope in the realm between. We see the families and the staff as they try to go through the normal routines of hospital admittance. They hear the painful screams, and much like the readers, they want to know what’s happening to their loved ones. What is going on in those closed rooms? The unknown is more terrifying than anything the creators—writer Johnnie Arnold and artist Tony Guaraldi-Brown, could present to readers. And it’s a tribute to their storytelling skill to withhold.
With only two issues remaining in the mini-series, The Final Plague still feels like it’s in the beginning stages of a large story. Where the plot heads is hard to guess—the plague is a world-wide problem and we’ve been given glimpses of its effects beyond the lab and Iowa. The creators have been so careful crafting their world so far, one hopes they don’t rush things as they draw closer to the final issue. And at this point it could be very possible that the series will extend beyond the initial story arc. Whatever the case may be, The Final Plague has offered three very good issues, and it will be exciting to see how Arnold and Guaraldi-Brown bring their story to a close.