Written by Mark Rahner and Robert Horton
Art by Dan Dougherty
Published by Moonstone
Agents Wade and Flynn proceed to their next zombie mission out in the Wild West in Part Four of Rotten. In a comic full of clever dialogue and wonderfully structured stoytelling, both in the writing and the art, you could say it’s sort of a bonus to include zombies.
As the popularity of “Zombieland” should make clear, it’s not just zombies that bring in an audience. It’s always going to come back to the story and the characters. In Rotten, you’ve got a very different kind of story led by a couple of likable and authentic guys, Agents Wade and Flynn. They are under special orders from Pres. Hayes to investigate reports of attacks from creatures or, “the undead,” out West.
Issue Four finds our heroes going undercover as commanding officers taking over a snow-bound and desolate Army fort. For all purposes, it shouldn’t even exist. There’s a lot of good tension-filled scenes between the new officers and the troops as neither group is eager to reveal everything they know.
Dan Dougherty is definitely the guy to be drawing this. He has a very distinctive style: sharp-edged and lean. He knows how to keep the story moving with tight compositions. He also knows his way around the subtleties of human expression. In this issue, the pressure is really applied on Agent Wade to not only act as a leader but to be one even when his orders sound outright strange. His every move must be convincing to a group of desperate men. Dougherty keeps us in the story and gives us a deeper appreciation of this complex character.
And what are these strange orders coming from Wade? Well, they’re nothing compared to what the men have been hiding from him. It’s spooky stuff in the tradition of “The Twilight Zone.” You don’t want to say this sort of thing too often but Rotten remains one of those best kept secrets in comics and I recommend you get in on it. This issue is the start of a new arc and a great place to dive in.