From video games to social media and the Internet, technology is now a huge part of our lives. But what if all this technology were to actually destroy the world around us? This is a question Mike Garley and Josh Sherwell pose in their new horror series, The Kill Screen, but will this indie sensation ‘level up’ the zombie genre or will it be a system in need of crashing?
Publisher: Mike Garley Comics
Writer: Mike Garley
Artist: Joshua Sherwell (Artist), Mike Stock (Letterer)
Price: £0.69 per issue from ComiXology
Humanity is all but gone after the events of ‘the kill screen’ – a digital catastrophe which has managed to traverse the gap from the computer realm to the real world, killing many and converting the rest into mindless, zombie-like drones. Now the remnants of society attempt to survive this harsh new world, unsure of how it all ended up this way but instead focusing on living. Our main characters, Chris and Jill, encounter each other amidst the red and blue kill-teams of zombies looking to end them. As they attempt to evade the dangerous cult of followers who want to convert them, along with some new faces, they finally face the deadly evil of the Kill Screen and encounter a familiar face, which just may have started it all in the first place.
Mike Garley is a well known on the UK indie circuit, already having published various works relating to horror (Dead Roots) and dystopian futures (Eponymous). However, with The Kill Screen, Garley has truly shown a raising of his game. This series is incredibly eerie but also terribly engrossing from start to finish, with various tropes, such as followers on Twitter and death-matches on video games, given a disturbing twist, making them truly menacing. Every set piece throughout these first three issues are given real care in how they are revealed, keeping the reader engaged while action plays out and convincing them to root for the series’ protagonists – all of whom feel well fleshed out despite the limited space offered to the expanding cast.
Of course, the writing isn’t all that makes this book great as Josh Sherwell’s art also enhances the read, going toe-to-toe with the greatness of the script. Drawn to resemble an 8-bit ’80s video game, Sherwell really pulls out all the stops to not only make this world look bleak with the grounded colours, but to also show how much the deadly Kill Screen has affected the world. A great example being when digital devices reconnect to a signal, causing them to explode which both ramps up the tension, but also delivers a sharp dose of satire about our dependence on our mobiles! What Sherwell also does, in showing the resulting explosion as a digital mass of pixels, really keeps the title firmly embedded in the notion of a digital reality taking over the world. Alongside smart touches like video game health bars and Twitter-esque ‘follower’ updates appearing throughout, the art really helps sell the fear of digital monsters taking over.