Issue by Issue – Tales of the Zombie #9

Writer – Chris Claremont, Tony Isabella, Doug Moench
Artist – Alfredo Alcala, Steve Gan, Pablo Marcos, Win Mortimer, Yong Montano, Virgilio Redondo, Ron Wilson

The ninth issue of Tales of the Zombie almost seems like a finale given the way it ends. It is an epic story and a tragic tale all rolled into one, a final hurrah for the man known as Simon Garth. Here, writers Tony Isabella and Chris Claremont take the zombie out of the man as Layla who knows she is dying and with the help of Papa Doc, exchanges her life thanks to the Loa so that the man she loved and doomed, Simon Garth, might live again for but a day. It is a selfless exchange and when Garth realises that he lives once again, he finds that he must use his time wisely and put right those things he left unfinished. Garth also knows that when he was first upon the Earth, he was not the nicest of men, that he took things for granted and so it is that he reconnects with his daughter who has been missing him fiercely as she is about to be married and even further, apologises to his estranged wife as well as he is able to. The man makes a proper will so that his family will be looked after, gives praise where it is needed and looks to end the threat of Mr. Six, something he was unable to do as one of the undead. Through a handful of great artists, Simon Garth means to go out on a high note, not celebrated by those around him but complete and confident that he finally did the right thing. It might not have been when it was needed, but better  late than never and never has a man seemed braver when facing life and death as a zombie than Garth. The tale is packed with emotion because once Garth is turned human; the reader knows exactly where it is headed and just what the conclusion has to be. It is almost bittersweet and with each turn of the page, one does not want it to stop though it has been foretold from the first. As the story folds, it does so definitively, with Simon dead and gone from the world. It is a funny thing to do, as there is yet another issue of the series to go and even funnier when it was originally published and when it was being released, the makers of this magazine did not yet know that it would be cancelled after that next issue, so killing off its main character was a little premature, unless that is they had plans to bring him back once more, which as it would seem, would have happened in the unpublished eleventh issue after missing the deadline for the tenth. Closing out the book is a tale of dementia and madness and ultimately of horror courtesy of Doug Moench and Alfredo Alcala. Altogether, this was an absolutely superb book through and through and could not have been any better.

5 out of 5

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