DIE! NAMITE #2 Expands Cast, Dials Up Zombie Threat to 11

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Alright, so the first issue of Dynamite's multi-world zombie adventure, DIE! NAMITE, was pretty much living up to expectations. We've seen Vampirella and Red Sonja cross paths so many times, with so many variations, they're veritably sorority sisters. And while we didn't see Dejah Thoris, we did see the brief return of John Carter. But the first inkling that this had the potential to over-deliver came at the end when Red Sonja encountered the least likely character of all -- Evil Ernie's possessed happy-face button, Smiley. That made me sit up and take notice.

This second issue, however, pulls out all the stops, and brings in a lot of new characters that go in uniquely unexpected directions. We'll get to them in a minute.

Picking up from last issue, Vampirella is cast in this story as an ambassador of Drakulon aboard a space frigate answering a distress call from another Drakulon ship. They change course for Mars to investigate, and Vampirella boards the docked vessel alone. Despite computer scans showing life signs, she finds the crew has been eviscerated, the victims of an undead creature who will look very familiar to fans of the Dynamite line of books (and who will go undescribed here for the purposes of keeping things as spoiler-free as possible).

In Red Sonja's world, Smiley fills her in on how her partner died after exhausting himself fighting off undead forces -- just as Sonja is preparing to do, as the zombies begin to mount the pyramid she's atop. Smiley tells her the only way to escape is a disgusting one, and they take it, resulting in a journey that promises to take Red Sonja across worlds.

And that's when the superheroes show up, just in time like rotating inventory in my well-managed TrainStation warehouse!

Now, technically, Peter Cannon did show up last issue, having been sent on his mission to battle the undead creatures, a battle for which he has been trained his entire life. Arriving in America by plane, he is picked up by Tabu who is to take him wherever he needs to go. But a lifetime of seclusion has left Peter with a few unfilfilled... "needs" in his life, and he would see to them first before making his way to his destination.

That destination happens to be the retirement home where we saw John Carter bring the zombie contagion back from Mars. The entire place is being overrun by undead nurses now, muc to the irritation of one of the residents -- Marla Drake in Room 1941. If the name (and number) sound familiar to you, then you've probably backed Billy Tucchi and Maria Sanapo's gorgeous graphic novel over on Indiegogo of the one and only Miss Fury! She's a lot older here, and a lot crankier -- but she still has her costume put away, and she's ready to use it when she sees what's going on. But even she recognizes a lost cause when she sees it, and is ready to slink into the darkness when her rooftop perch is lit up by the airborne arrival of Project: Superpowers -- featuring the Daredevil, Mighty Samson, the Green Llama, Scarab, Miss Masque -- and the invulnerable and superhumanly powerful Black Terror.

And that's when things take a turn for the incredibly hopeless.

DIE! NAMITE is a heckuva yarn from Fred Van Lente and Declan Shalvey, with nice, dynamic artwork from Vincenzo Carratu and Pasquale Qualano. If you're a zombie invasion fan -- and even if you're not -- you should pick this one up and give it a shot... to the head.

4.5 / 5.0