What could be more zeitgeisty than the popular Jane Austen and zombie mashup written by Seth Grahame-Smith? A graphic novelization of Grahame-Smith's creation, of course. Lee and Richards collaborate on a lively adaptation, which should appeal to edgier fans of 19th-century novels. The plot and language cleave closely to the basic outlines of Austen's beloved tale, with the major exception that the English countryside is overrun by zombies, and the Bennett sisters are trained warriors. Elizabeth still disdains then pines for Mr. Darcy; Mr. Bennett is still as sage as his wife is daft; and Mr. Wickham is still a charming but duplicitous con man. Lovers of the novel will delight at the clever ways in which the zombie interludes tweak the well-known elements of the tale, although the story will make little sense to those not familiar with Austen. Artist Richards unfortunately makes all the Bennett sisters look like Barbies, with Elizabeth's lips looking as if they were pumped full of silicone; there are also some unnecessary flashes of Elizabeth's garters and thigh-high stockings. But the action sequences are dynamic, the English manors are lovely, and the zombies appropriately gory. (May) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
It is an increasingly popular supposition that a story acclaimed through best-sellerdom should do well as a graphic novel, especially one as action-rich as Grahame-Smith's Regency mashup. With zombies invading Austen's plot, numerous elements take on new relevance. Kitty and Lydia's beloved militia regiment has quartered in the Bennets' neighborhood to dispel attacks from the "unmentionables." Elizabeth must fight her way through the undead to visit the ailing Jane at Netherfield and so has serious justification for a muddy frock. And with many of the characters skilled at martial arts, their exchanges go way beyond verbal sparring. Indeed, the most satisfying sequences come when Lizzy responds to Darcy's original proposal with a well-aimed kick to his gut and later dispatches Lady Catherine's ninja guard before disarming the Lady herself, disdaining to kill her honorably. -VERDICT Buffy veteran Richards does lovely, period-detailed line work, and his panel designs and action sequences work well. But the black-and-white drawings have an unfinished feel, and-like Marvel's Pride and Prejudice-many women characters look too much alike. No matter, however, since the bewitching Elizabeth and swoonworthy Darcy carry the narrative. For zombie fans, older teens and up.-M.C. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.