Die!Namite Never Dies #1 Review

Writer:  Fred Van Lente
Art: Vincenzo Carratu and Kike J. Diaz
Letterer:  Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 2nd, 2022

The cross-world zombie saga involving most of the characters in the Dynamite shared universe continues in Die!Namite Never Dies #1, where Tarzan enters the fray, and Evil Sonja (with her ever-faithful Smiley-Sword), Vampirella, and Pantha continue their quest to defend the Earth from the coming zombie invasion from Mars and Draculon.  It’s more old-time pulp fiction goodness (even the cover is a play on Boris Karloff’s film “The Mummy”) that’ll satisfy anyone who loves Dynamite’s stable of characters.

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon.

The Story

Die!Namite Never Dies #1 opens with Tarzan, as he’s awakened by Jane after a UFO crashes in the nearby jungle.  The bulk of the issue is spent with Tarzan as he investigates the crash, as he encounters a student from a Manchester college on a field expedition with her class.  From there, the jungle comes alive (actually, comes undead) as a plethora of zombified animals seemingly attack from all sides. It’s an action-packed issue and I liked that Fred Van Lente writes Tarzan as Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote him in the original novels, speaking intelligently in a British accent.  Thankfully, there are no vestiges of Johnny Weismuller’s grunting “Me Tarzan, You Jane” vocabulary here.

In the original Tarzan novels, Tarzan teaches himself English by reading his father’s portable book collection that survived the plane crash that killed his parents.
Overall, I like Tarzan’s portrayal here, though I feel he’s a bit too devil-may-care and playful.  I’ve always imagined Tarzan to be a very stern introspective guy, but here, he’s more akin to Errol Flynn’s swashbuckling Robin Hood, trading quips with his opponents and eagerly jumping into battle.  I kept expecting a zombie Basil Rathbone to emerge from the jungle and attack with a sword in hand.

The battles here are fierce.  In one part of the book, Tarzan even battles a zombie dinosaur(!).   It’s super fun stuff that stays true to the EC Comics/classic Sci-Fi comics theme that runs through Dynamite’s universe. Evil Sonja, Vampirella, and Pantha’s appearance are brief, and there’s a great cliffhanger ending that will drastically change the location of the story for the next issue.

The Art

Vincenzo Carratu’s art on Die!Namite Never Dies #1 reminds me of John Byrne’s late 1980s work (primarily his work on the “Man of Steel” limited series for DC).  The characters and animals are drawn in a sleek fashion, with minimal backgrounds, and the fight scenes are fast and brutal. I loved the way he draws Vampirella, with her skull shoulder-pads, 70’s-style high collar, and sinewy armbands.  Evil Sonja’s sword Smiley-Sword looks like it was molded from the skeleton of some Lovecraftian creature.   It’s great work and enhances the story perfectly.

Final Thoughts

Die!Namite Never Dies #1 is a great start to the next phase of the Dynamite zombie epic.  I’m not sure how long Dynamite will continue the story, but if it stays this good, I’m in for as long as it lasts.


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